A High Court judgement effective from 10 August 2023 means that councils may no longer engage workers from employment agencies to provide cover during strike action.  It would be advisable to update any policies, procedures or guidance on managing strike action to emphasise that agency workers cannot be engaged to provide direct cover for either striking workers or employees transferred to cover for striking workers, and to ensure that managers are made aware of this change.

Historically it was the case that Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Business Regulations 2003 prevented employment agencies from supplying workers to cover staff on strike or staff who had been transferred to provide cover for striking workers.  This was briefly changed in July 2022 when the government repealed Regulation 7, however the decision in the recent High Court challenge from several Trades Unions has had the effect of reinstating Regulation 7 by determining that the government failed to carry out the necessary statutory consultation before repealing part of the 2003 Regulations. 

The LGA have updated their FAQs on managing industrial action accordingly (LGA subscription required).

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