Hiring agency staff during strike action: reforming regulation

Closed 9 Sep 2015

Opened 15 Jul 2015


The recruitment sector is regulated by the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (the ‘Conduct Regulations’).  Currently Regulation 7 of the Conduct Regulations prohibits employment businesses from providing agency workers to cover the duties normally performed by an employee of an organisation who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action, or to cover the work of an employee covering the duties of an employee taking part in a strike or other industrial action.

The Government wants to ensure that strikes should only ever be the result of a clear, democratic decision and commits to tackling the disproportionate impact of strikes in important public services.  Removing this regulation from the Conduct Regulations would allow employers facing industrial action to hire temporary agency workers from employment businesses who would then be able to perform some of the functions not being carried out due to the industrial action. 

The Conservative Party manifesto (published 14 April 2015) specifically states that the Government will ‘repeal nonsensical restrictions banning employers from hiring agency staff to provide essential cover during strikes’. This consultation aims to seek views on the impact that this commitment would have on a wide range of stakeholders.


  • SMEs (small and medium businesses)
  • Large businesses (over 250 staff)
  • Multinational businesses
  • Trade bodies
  • Legal representative
  • Medium business (50 to 250 staff)
  • Micro business (up to 9 staff)
  • Small business (10 to 49 staff)
  • Trade union or staff association
  • Employment advisers
  • Businesses
  • Individual employees
  • Individual


  • Workplace rights
  • Regulation and red tape