It has been confirmed that the government will not appeal the High Court decision that using agency workers to cover for workers on strike is unlawful. This means that last year’s rushed legislation change will revert back to the original version with effect from 10 August 2023. After this date, temporary agency workers will not be able to provide cover for staff on strike.
Our friends at REC, the professional body for recruitment agencies, joined us in condemning the legislation when it was originally proposed last year. Responding to the government’s decision not to appeal, Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive said:
“The government’s decision not to appeal the decision of the High Court on agency workers and strikes is common sense. It delivers immediate and much-needed certainty for companies and workers. The ban on agency workers replacing striking workers will return in a few days.
“Agency staff have a choice of roles and it was always very unlikely they would choose to cross picket lines, and in any case placing a different firm’s workers into the middle of a dispute would only ever aggravate tensions.
“We hope that the government decides to let this matter rest now. It may choose to table replacement regulations, but these cannot be rushed considering the judgment of the High Court. A full consultation would be needed. If the government goes down this route, the REC will stand with labour relations experts across the country in arguing that the change will stir up problems and provide no solutions. We would be better advised to channel energy and efforts into resolving current conflicts and producing an industrial strategy for the UK that tackles labour market shortages.”