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Ministers press on with ‘cynical’ plan to let agency staff replace striking workers

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Unions and recruiters have condemned government moves to allow agency workers to replace striking staff, saying it would “poison” relations and endanger safety.The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said the government was pressing ahead with a change in the law, as rail workers walked out for the second of two 24-hour strikes this week.

Some bus workers and nurses are also set to strike, while teachers may take industrial action this year.Under current employment laws, businesses cannot supply agency workers to fill in for striking employees, which the government says would lessen their impact “on hardworking commuters and the economy”.The TUC said it was a cynical and unworkable move, while rail unions dismissed it as “playing to the gallery”.

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