Replacing Workers on Industrial Action

The government has published a consultation on, once again, removing the restriction in Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (‘Conduct Regs’) on employment businesses supplying candidates to cover those taking part in official industrial action, including those on strike.

If you’re thinking “hasn’t this already happened?!”, you would be correct. Regulation 7 was repealed in 2022. However, the repeal was successfully challenged in the courts on the grounds that there had been insufficient consultation, and the legislation was reinstated. The government is again proposing its removal across all sectors, so that employment businesses will be permitted, but not obliged, to provide cover. This proposal is subject to a formal consultation, presumably to minimise the risk of a further successful challenge.

What this means for employment businesses is difficult to gauge. Our discussions with clients would suggest that some benefitted from the change in 2022/23 and have supplied cover for striking workers, but many others have indicated a reluctance to go down this route for fear of damage to candidate relations and in some cases health and safety concerns.

The consultation can be found here and is open until the 16th of January 2024. Responses are sought to provide evidence on the current impact of Regulation 7, the likely impact of its repeal, the sectors this would have most application to, and any other comments. Previous Lawspeed articles on this topic can be found here and here.

Compliance with the Conduct Regs is currently high on the agenda of many recruiters with EAS inspections on the increase. We offer guidance with our Conduct Regulations Manual and Conduct Regulations Webinar.

Whether you’d like a chat to see if we can help or if you recognise that having the best documents and processes will get you ahead, give us a call on 01273 236236.

Theresa Mimnagh, Director, Lawspeed

Lawspeed group corporate clients benefit from immediate up to date advice on staff engagement and related regulation; employment status; client, IR35, PAYE and umbrella contract templates; contract review/negotiation; self-employment and CIS contract templates; trade membership and government representation; accreditation services and a state of the art digital contract management platform.

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