Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022: Easing the Pressure During Strike Action

Monday 18th July 2022

Strikes took place on the railways in late June, causing widespread disruption to passengers and businesses. Further strikes will take place in August. It didn’t take long for the government to respond.

A quick introduction to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022

Currently, it is a criminal offence for employment businesses to provide temporary agency workers to an employer to perform the duties of those taking part in an official strike or official industrial action.  However, the government has announced new legislation, Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022, to change this.

These regulations will allow agency workers to be provided to cover official strike/industrial action. The cap on damages awarded against a trade union in relation to unofficial strike action will also increase significantly to a maximum of £1 million.

Where does the law currently stand?

These changes haven’t yet been brought into force and currently, we don’t know when that will happen.

It will be interesting to see whether employment businesses will provide agency workers in such situations. From speaking to employment businesses, we know that some will refuse to provide agency workers to cover strike action given the negative publicity that could result. Also, will agency workers really want to cross picket lines to work, given the potential abuse they could face?

Employers will likely welcome this law change to minimise the disruption caused by strike action, particularly for the less skilled roles where agency workers can step in with minimal training.

But the new legislation will clearly be unwelcome to unions, who may well seek to challenge it in the courts.

If you would like more information on the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 bill or any other employment matters, please get in touch with a member of our team.