Agency workers

Agency workers banned from covering staff during strike action

Agency workers banned from covering staff during strike action

In this article, the new laws surrounding agency workers and strike action will be discussed. As well as this, some key things employers should be aware of relating to strike action will be explained.

Agency workers banned from replacing striking workers

From 10th August 2023 Employment agencies will run the risk of criminal charges if they supply employers with agency workers to cover services during strike action.

Agency workers are banned from replacing striking workers. This means that businesses are going to have to ensure that they have contingency plans, should the threat of industrial action become a reality. However, if you have agency workers already in place as part of normal business you can carry on as normal.

Employers are going to have to find an alternative to using agency workers should their staff enter industrial action.

Do not presume that you can make other colleagues do overtime or cover colleagues’ work.  All employees have the right to make their own personal choice about covering for a colleague who is taking strike action.   You can only ask non-union employees to cover work during a strike if it is allowed in their contract. Additionally, it is important you do not discriminate directly or indirectly against an employee.

Secondary strike action

Secondary strike action is when workers act in support of striking colleagues, this can happen when not all employees are union members so cannot strike but want to show support in other ways. The support for their colleagues, and therefore the absence of support to the employer can impact the productivity or service of the company/business/facility. This is sometimes called ‘sympathy action’.  

Remember that an employee does not need to tell you if they are going to go on strike and they do not need to contact you on strike day. However, employers do not need to pay their striking employee so you can factor this in. The exception to this is if the employee is on maternity, paternity, adoption, parental or shared parental leave.

To find out more information about how HPC can support you, get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037


Twitter: @HPC_HRServices

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