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Trade unions – ASLEF, BFAWU, FDA, GMB, NEU, NUJ, POA, PCS, RMT, Unite and Usdaw – have taken the case against the UK government’s new regulations which allow agency workers to fill in for striking workers and break strikes. The unions argue that the regulations are unlawful because:

  • The then Secretary of State for business failed to consult unions, as required by the Employment Agencies Act 1973.
  • They violate fundamental trade union rights protected by Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Action has been taken also by UNISON, which is arguing that the government’s change to the Conduct Regulations 2003 is unfair and based on unreliable evidence (these regulations previously protected employees’ right to strike and ensured agency workers could not replace them).

UNISON’s legal team aims to show that the government has ignored Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights​ (the right to freedom of association).

It is likely that all arguments will be heard together.

This action is in addition to the complaint filed with the ILO in relation to the P&O sackings. More information is provided here.

For more information about these actions, see the TUC's press release here and UNISON's here.