Agencies Allowed to Supply Temporary Workers to Cover Striking Workers

New UK regulations allow Agencies and Employment Businesses to supply temporary workers to cover workers taking industrial action.

Striking Workers

Revocation of Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003

On 21 July 2022, the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/852) (the Regulations) and the Liability of Trade Unions in Proceedings in Tort (Increase of Limits on Damages) Order 2022 (SI 2022/699) (the Order) and came into force in Great Britain.

The 2022 Regulations revoke regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/3319) which previously prevented an agency or employment business from supplying temporary workers to perform duties normally performed by a worker who is on strike or taking official industrial action, or the duties normally performed by any other worker who has been assigned to cover a striking worker.

The Liability of Trade Unions in Proceedings in Tort (Increase of Limits on Damages) Order 2022

The 2022 Order amends section 22(2) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 to increase the limits on the maximum damages award which may be made against a trade union where industrial action is found to be unlawful. With effect from 21 July 2022, the limits are increased as follows:

  • Less than 5,000 members: £40,000 (previously £10,000).
  • 5,000 to 24,999 members: £200,000 (previously £50,000).
  • 25,000 to 99,999 members: £500,000 (previously £125,000).
  • 100,000 members or more: £1,000,000 (previously £250,000).

The new limits do not apply to any tort proceedings which relate to an act that began or occurred before 21 July 2022. The explanatory note states that the increases take into account RPI changes since the limits were set in the Employment Act 1982.

The trade union Unison has indicated that it will seek judicial review of the Regulations.

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