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Agency workers may not be used to break strikes

The Mirror reports, “Government humiliated as High Court rules draconian anti-strike laws are illegal“; this was a case which your Union with others took to the Court. We have been written to by our Regional Secretary, Warren Kenny, who says,

Good news – the High Court has today ruled in favour of GMB and other unions’ challenge to the Government attempt to allow agency workers to cover the jobs of striking members.

In July 2022 the Government revoked the longstanding ban on the use of agency workers to replace striking workers, or to cover the work of striking workers, in official industrial action. GMB was one of 13 unions who challenged this decision. The TUC coordinated the challenge for 11 unions (ASLEF, BFWAU, FDA, GMB, NEU, NUJ, POA, PCS, RMT, UNITE, USDAW). The case was heard by the High Court on 3rd and 4th May, and judgement was handed down this morning 13th July.

I am very pleased to be able to report to you that the Judicial Review to challenge the government’s decision to revoke regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 has been successful. If you would like a copy of the judgement please let us know.

Our challenge succeeded on the first ground of our case that the Secretary of State failed to comply with the statutory duty to consult, under section 12 (2) of the Employment Agencies Act 1973. The court decided not to express a view on our second ground, that is whether the Secretary of State had breached the duty under Article 11 of the ECHR to prevent unlawful interference with the rights of trade unions and their members given the finding that the unions succeed on the first ground.

This is a great win for the unions defeating the Government over one of their union bashing laws. I am really proud that GMB has taken this case. This will be good news for low paid workers, who are often vulnerable to this tactic being used against them, and further protects their right to strike.


Posted: 15th July 2023

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