The government has announced that the law will be changed to enable businesses to supply skilled agency workers to cover for employees who are on strike. Currently employment businesses (usually temp agencies) are prohibited from supplying temporary workers to cover for employees who are taking part in strikes but the proposals that will be put before parliament will allow affected employers to bring in skilled temporary agency staff to temporarily cover essential roles.
The government is introducing this change to mitigate against the impact of future strikes, and the announcement gives the example of how this change would have meant that during this week’s strikes on the railways, trained temporary workers could have carried out crucial roles to keep trains moving and enabled train managers to be better deployed in safety critical roles.
The change in the law will apply across all sectors and will come into force across England, Scotland and Wales over the coming weeks. The government has also announced an increase in the maximum damages that courts can award against a union where strike action has been found to be unlawful. The cap on damages has been unchanged at £250,000 since 1982 and is set to be raised to £1 million.
To read the government’s announcement click here