IWORK’s founder Julia Kermode was delighted to chat to HR Grapevine about how businesses should approach engaging temporary workers to cover for their staff going on strike. Many people are seriously affected by the current financial crisis, increasing cost of living and rising fuel prices, and meaning that increasing numbers of workers are considering strike action as their employer appears not be listening to them.
There are a lot of issues to consider in relation to bringing in temps to cover for strikes, not least whether there will be adequate numbers of suitably skilled workers available to do so. This point is particularly vital for businesses affected by co-ordinated national action as you may be competing with other companies for the same workers. From IWORK‘s perspective, the single biggest issue is communication. Any incoming temps will certainly need to know that they will be providing cover for strikes because they will be walking into a tense and potentially volatile situation. Arguably, businesses engaging temps have a duty of care towards them and so a moral duty to ensure temporary workers are fully aware of the situation. Thought also needs to be given to who will supervise the temps and be responsible for supporting them whilst providing that cover, given that those they are covering for are absent.
These are just a handful of points raised for HR departments to consider. We also discuss why the UK Government is tightening the rules to prevent strike action, why using temps to cover striking staff may not be the best approach and the public reaction to industrial action. You can listen to the full podcast here.