22 January 2016
The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) has published its response to the government’s consultation on hiring agency staff during strike action in September 2015, stating that the move is unjustified and will intensify conflict.
The purpose of the consultation was to gather views on the government’s plans to remove Regulation 7 from the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, which states that temporary staff may not be hired to cover the duties of a worker taking industrial action, or to cover for a person who is covering the duties of a worker taking industrial action.
In its response, the IER states: “A strike is a weapon of last resort for employees and sign that attempts at dispute resolution have failed. If a strike supported by a democratic mandate is undermined by the use of agency workers, it is likely to entrench attitudes more and intensify the conflict rather than driving the parties to a long-term compromise. The government should be focusing on the causes of strikes or on encouraging other means of resolving strikes by conciliation or agreement.”
Furthermore, the IER highlighted the poorly researched assumptions the government made when performing its impact assessment, and objected to the narrow focus of the consultation and lack of justification for its proposed amendments to the law.
“In none of the policy documents is there any suggestion that employers, employment businesses, or anyone else objects to regulation 7 of the Conduct Regulations or has asked for its repeal,” our response states, adding: “The weaker are individual workers, the more they need a right to strike, and the more the amendments are likely to make this right illusory in practice.”
Click here to read the response in full