Is There Another Summer of Discontent on its Way?

What you can do to avoid further disruption should it occur again – the new law coming into force.

Following recent rail strikes that took place which ground a lot of things to a halt and caused major disruption to people trying to commute to work or to see others, the Government have introduced a new law that allows businesses to be able to supply agency workers during any spells of industrial action.  This change in Law was unveiled by the Government on 23rd June 2022.

Under the previous Law, there were restrictions in place which stopped employers from taking on agency workers to cover jobs of employees who are taking strike action. However following strikes over the last few years that have caused more issues, the government have announced they are to remove the restrictions on businesses that supply temporary workers to cover any employees who are striking.

The new Law will allow Companies the freedom to be able to fill those roles, deemed as vital, for the duration of the strike period, so that any disruption likely to occur to people’s daily lives is kept to a minimum.  The changes apply to all sectors and are to ensure business and public services can continue to operate, with some restrictions or reduced performance, but not a total disruption to people getting to work or having to take time off work because of strikes. Employers would need to ensure by doing this they still abide by Health and Safety rules and ensure that the workers they hire to cover any strike action, have the required skills to fulfil the roles.

The changes are due to come into force in England, Scotland and Wales over the next few weeks.

The government are also raising the claim damages cap that companies can claim, against a Trade Union if the court finds the strike to be unlawful. These caps have not changed since 1982, for the biggest unions the maximum award will be rising from £250,000 to £1 million.

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