Warning on casual work

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The Government's desire for a more flexible workforce in Britain risks creating a casualised industrial peasantry unable to get mortgages, welfare payments or adequate pensions, the leader of one of Britain's largest management institutes warned yesterday, writes Simon Midgley.

Geoff Armstrong, director general of the Institute of Personnel and Development, told the institute's annual conference in Harrogate that there was a risk of creating a sub-class of part-time workers with no rights.

'It's a small step from portfolio worker to portfolio pariah, a casual catch-as-catch-can with no stake in society,' he said.

In effect, Mr Armstrong's words were a warning to Michael Portillo, the Secretary of State for Employment, who addressed the conference earlier this week, not to allow the Government's enthusiasm for a flexible workforce to go too far.