UNION members demonstrated outside a Newport call centre over what it has described as the exploitation of agency workers.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) protested outside the BT call centre at Telecom House, in Factory Road, handing information to employees about a loophole in the law which allows agency workers to be paid less than directly employed staff.

According to the union around 15 agency workers at the call centre are on ‘pay between assignment’ contracts, which means that after 12 weeks, instead of receiving equal pay with directly employed staff, they are still paid £6.50 an hour. This is below the Living Wage rate of £7.45 an hour and around £4.15 an hour less than other staff at the call centre.

“It is not fair that agency workers in Newport should be prevented from the equal pay they are entitled to because of these sneaky contracts which sign away their rights,” said CWU representative Kate Webster.

“This loophole should be closed. ”

Aspokesman for BT said: “We negotiate pay levels at a national level with our recognised trade unions and we are very confident that we have appropriate pay levels for both our employees and the business.

“BT is fully aligned with the agency workers’ regulations where pay between assignment contracts exist and act in accordance with the law.”