News that the High Court has quashed (Thursday 13 July) the government’s decision to allow agencies to supply agency workers to employers to undermine legal strike action was today hailed by Unite as a “total vindication”.
Following the government’s decision to reverse the ban on employers hiring agency workers during strike action in July 2022, a group of union’s including Unite, challenged the decision through a judicial review coordinated by the TUC.
The High Court has upheld the unions’ judicial review. The 2022 amendment to the regulations has now been quashed due to the government’s complete failure to consult prior to implementing their proposals, as required by legislation.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “This is a total vindication for unions and workers. The government’s decision to allow employers to recruit agency workers to undermine legal strike action was a cynical move to back their friends in business and weaken workers’ legal rights to withdraw their labour.
“It was entirely counterproductive as rather than weaken industrial action it has hardened attitudes and unnecessarily extended strikes. This ill-thought-out, divisive legislation must be consigned to the dustbin of history.”
Employers will be barred from recruiting agency workers to undermine legal strike action from Wednesday 10 August. Unite will be ensuring that all companies where it is involved in disputes, are fully aware of the judgement and abide by the High Court decision.
Since July 2022, there have been several high-profile industrial disputes, including a number of refuse strikes, where an employer has recruited significant numbers of agency workers to seek to undermine strike action.
Unite legal director, Stephen Pinder, said: “Unite will be leaving employers with no shadow of a doubt that once they are barred from using agency workers during strikes, they must abide by the letter of the law.”