On 15th July the government announced a consultation to abolish the rules that prohibit an employment business from replacing a worker on strike. The plan appears to be to enable employers to use agency workers whenever a strike is in operation, whether to replace a striking worker or to fill a position of someone who has been moved to replace a striking worker.
“Since the supply of agency workers is designed to help employers in times of short or longer term need, we are glad that the government recognises the value and benefit of the agency supply industry and can see how it assists with its economic objectives.” said Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC). “We always hope that strike action can be avoided, but if the measure is passed our members will be here to help. We therefore support the proposal, and it is worth noting that without the agency worker supply industry in place, the government simply would not have the option to help embattled employers in this way.”
The consultation, which is due to close on 9th September, proposes the abolition of Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, which currently contains a wide ranging prohibition against using agency workers in strike circumstances. The measure was outlined in the Conservative Party manifesto and there is no proposal to interfere with any rights afforded by employment legislation.
Marlowe concluded, “The UK recruitment industry is worth some £25bn a year and provides an enormous boost to the economy. I hope that the time has come for more focus on this area to enable government, businesses and individuals to further harvest the many benefits it provides.”
ARC has a number of lobbying campaigns for change, all designed to facilitate business and remove unhelpful conflicts and red tape without undermining the individual rights and protections.
Chairman, ARC – The Association of Recruitment Consultancies