Hiring agency staff during industrial action

The recruitment sector in the UK is regulated by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

The recruitment sector in the UK is regulated by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (‘the Conduct Regulations’). 

Currently Regulation 7 prohibits employment agencies from providing agency workers to cover the duties normally performed by an employee who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action (or the duties of any employee providing cover for a striking worker). 

However, the Government intends to remove Regulation 7 and allow employers to hire agency workers to cover industrial action. A consultation has been published seeking views on this proposal. 

In the past, we have submitted responses to consultations and our comments have helped to shape Government policy. We intend to respond on this occasion and would be happy to communicate your views to the Government. We will of course keep your details confidential and your organisation will not be individually named in our response document. 

Current Options

Currently there are some ways that employers facing industrial action are able to obtain cover for the work affected by industrial action. Employers may directly hire new staff or contract out the work to an external service provider. However Regulation 7 means that employers cannot utilise agency workers in these circumstances. 

Lifting the Restriction 

In the consultation document, the Government expresses the view that Regulation 7 unreasonably restricts access to an available pool of labour. Indeed, the Conservative Party Manifesto describes the decision as ‘nonsensical’. 

The Government’s stated aim is to reduce the impact of strike action on the wider economy and society, by ensuring that businesses can still operate to some extent during a strike. 

The Consultation 

The Consultation seeks views on the impact that removing the Regulation 7 restriction would have UK businesses (as well as employment agencies, employees involved in industrial action and other interested parties). 

It asks why the current options for covering for striking workers are infrequently used and seeks input as to how effective allowing access to agency workers would be in easing the disruption caused by industrial action.                       

What do you think? 

We have set out the key questions in a simple survey to collate your thoughts on the Government’s proposals. 

Click here to respond to our short survey. It should only take about 10 minutes to complete.

We will of course keep respondent details confidential and your organisation will not be individually named in our response document. 

Read the consultation document in full.

 

If you have any questions about the consultation, or any concerns regarding gender pay gap reporting within your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact you usual Weightmans contact, or get in touch with:

Share on Twitter