||Within the framework of social law, the position of temporary agency work has always been a source of some debate. There is an area of tension between the aim for more flexible types of labour on the one hand and maintaining decent labour relations on the other.
For that reason the ILO has engaged in private labour intermediation ever since it was founded. While there was a tendency to forbid, or at least restrict private intermediation in the early years, gradually it became more accepted that, among others, temporary agency work had its merits and that a total ban was useless. In 1997, this culminated in ILO-convention 181, which received wide support.
This did not put a stop to the discussion about non-standard types of paid employment. Which types of labour can be considered decent? How do they relate to the human rights? What are the effects of globalisation?
At the European level, too, close attention was paid to (for instance, cross-border) temporary agency work. Lastly, the Netherlands itself has it own unique type of public-private regulation.
The starting point is the question whether Convention 181 still has value. What are the developments in the social domain with regard to temporary agency work? How do they relate to the various types of flexible labour that are gradually catching up with temporary agency work?
The fact that Convention 181 features among the most ratified ILO conventions that have been effected since 1990 makes clear that it is clearly meeting a need. While Convention 181 has met with policy competition from developments such as: decent-isation, human rightification, IFA-isation and Europeanisation, they have not affected its value. Convention 181 advances decent flexibility and fights informal labour and human trafficking.