Regulations allowing supply of agency workers during strikes quashed

Earlier today the High Court ruled that regulations made last year to reverse a long-standing ban on the use of agency workers during strikes were unlawful.

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 purported to remove a prohibition against employment businesses supplying agency workers to cover for striking workers. The mechanism chosen was to repeal the relevant provisions in the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

Following a legal challenge by 13 trade unions, the High Court has now declared the 2022 Regulations legally ineffective. Pending any appeal by the Government, employment businesses will no longer be able to rely on the 2022 Regulations to supply workers in this situation, and the law reverts to the position it was in before they were passed.

The High Court based its decision on the Government’s failure to follow the statutory consultation procedure correctly before deciding to legislate to reverse the ban. An appeal to the Court of Appeal is however thought likely.


Note (25 July 2023): We have now seen a copy of the High Court's order, which states that the 2022 Regulations are quashed with effect from 10 August 2023. That means they remain in force until that date.

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