The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has given its backing to the temporary workforce after suggesting that agency workers are good for employers and the economy.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, was making his comments in the wake of the mass redundancies of temporary staff at the BMW Cowley plant.

Mr Green said that those who are employed via an agency "enjoy a variety of rights" and according to REC research, some 80 per cent were "satisfied with their assignments".

Commenting on the advantages of a temporary workforce, Mr Green said: "The fact that employers can flex their labour requirements quickly with agency staff means that more jobs are created in the economy.

"We should not lose sight of the benefit that this brings workers and employers alike when firms make difficult decisions about who to make redundant."

Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary accused BMW of "blatant opportunism" in getting rid of agency workers because they have "no rights to redundancy pay".