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Government to make it easier for businesses to engage temporary staff during industrial action

There is currently a very limited legal restriction on employers moving staff or taking on new staff during industrial action.


However, legislation prevents an employment business from supplying an employer with temporary workers to perform duties normally performed by a worker who is on strike or taking industrial action, or the duties normally performed by any other worker who has been assigned to cover a striking worker.


The government has announced that it will be changing the law in Great Britain to make it easier for businesses to engage temporary staff during industrial action and raising the cap on the damages which can be awarded against trade unions where the action is found to be unlawful.

On the 23rd of June 2022, during a week of rail strikes and when strikes are being threatened by the largest teaching union and airport ground crew among others, the government announced that it will change the current law to:

  • Enable businesses to engage temporary agency staff via employment businesses during industrial action.

  • Increase the cap on damages which can be awarded against a trade union by a court where industrial action is found to be unlawful. For the largest unions, the maximum amount which can be awarded will rise from £250,000 to £1 million.

The legislation was laid before parliament on 24th and 27th June 2022. It has not yet been approved.


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