Agency workers now allowed to replace striking workers


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On 21 July 2022 the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force.

They revoke Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 which prevented an 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. As a result employers will now be able to engage temporary workers when industrial action is taking place. Unison has stated that it will seek judicial review of the new Regulations.

The Liability of Trade Unions in Proceedings in Tort (Increase of Limits on Damages) Order also came into force on 21 July. This increase the limits on the maximum damages award which may be made against a trade union where industrial action is found to be unlawful. The increased limits will only apply to tort proceedings relating to an act that began or occurred after 21 July 2022. The new limits are as follows:

  • For unions with less than 5,000 members, an increase from £10,000 to £40,000.
  • For those with 5,000 to 24,999 members, an increase from £50,000 to £200,000.
  • For those with 25,000 to 99,999 members, an increase from £125,000 to £500,000.
  • For unions with 100,000 members or more, an increase from £250,000 to £1,000,000.
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