Agency workers to fill staffing gaps caused by strike action

05 August 2022


  • Legislation came into force on 21 July 2022 to enable skilled agency workers to fill vital staffing gaps caused by industrial strike action
  • As industrial action can disrupt crucial public services, Government has repealed trade union laws that previously restricted employment businesses from providing temporary agency workers to fill positions vacant due to strike action
  • The amendment has been made in the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022
  • Government also amended the law to raise the maximum damages that courts can award against a union when strike action has been found to be unlawful. The maximum aware will rise from £250,000 to £1 million

Aspire comment

Government enforced this law last month following rail disruption due to strike action.

The change overturns the long-standing principle that workers have the right to strike and not be replaced by temporary labour whilst doing so.  If agencies and temporary workers agree to fill the labour gap created by a strike it is difficult to see that strikes will remain an effective measure in disputes between an employer and their workforce. 

Unison has written a letter to the Business Secretary regarding its intention to seek Judicial Review of the new legislation, stating that it risks the safety of staff and the public.