Temporary workers during industrial action

Many of you will have seen in the news, in response to an increase in industrial action, that the Government announced an intention to introduce legislation that will allow employment businesses to supply temporary workers during strike action.  The Government is also proposing to raise damages that can be awarded against a trade union if they are involved in unlawful industrial action.

The move has obviously been criticised by the left and by the unions as undermining the fundamental right of employees/workers to withdraw labour in a democratic society.  There has also been some comment that employment businesses fear that their reputation could be damaged by such an arrangement, not wanting to be seen as a modern-day supplier of ‘scab’ labour.  Given the present turmoil in Government, it remains to be seen whether or not the Government’s previous intention that the legislation would come into effect ‘in weeks’, will prevail.