Britain's trade unions have been warned they would harm workers and cost jobs if their complaint to the European Commission about employment law ever proved successful.

The Trade Union Congress has made a formal legal objection over the United Kingdom's implementation of the European Union's Temporary Agency Worker's Directive, which came into force two years ago, claiming it is not being properly enforced.

However Anthea McIntyre, West Midlands MEP and the Conservative employment spokesman in  Europe, said: "I believe this intervention is not only futile, but totally against the best interests of workers and job-creation.

"The TUC seems to think it has found a loophole and that it can ‘have a go’ at the Government for allowing a sensible amount of flexibility into the way the regulation works in the UK. The Government is adamant that everything has been done correctly and I am sure that is the case.

"I am confident the Government will prevail, but if Labour's paymasters at the TUC were by some chance to win, the likely result would be more people thrown on the dole and fewer people who want to work having the opportunity to do so.  Companies currently giving work to people employed directly by agencies would surely have second thoughts about taking on temporary staff at all.

"You only need to look at France, where the number of job vacancies held by the leading temporary work agency Randstad fell by more than 20 per cent in two months, to learn what follows if this kind of EU directive is implemented with an excess of zeal. The Temporary Agency Worker's Directive is a perfect example of why the right to determine social legislation of this kind needs to be repatriated to the UK at the earliest opportunity."