Kwasi Kwarteng Britain COST Action Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng Britain

UK’s biggest recruiters warn against hiring agency staff to replace strikers

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Britain’s biggest recruitment and staffing companies have written to the government to protest against plans to replace striking workers with agency staff, warning that this would further inflame strikes.In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, the bosses of 13 companies including Hays, Adecco, Randstad and Manpower called on the business secretary to reconsider plans to repeal a decades-long ban on using agency workers to cover for picketing staff.“We can only see these proposals inflaming strikes – not ending them,” the 13 groups warned in their letter, which was sent by Sarah Thewlis, chair of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).The firms said they felt “compelled” to write to the business secretary as the leaders of the largest staffing businesses in the UK to express their “concern” at how the government is moving ahead with the proposals, which they described as “unhelpful”.Faced with strikes by thousands of rail workers and staff in other industries over pay offers well below the 9.1% inflation rate at a time of soaring living costs, the government this week put forward draft legislation.It would remove the restriction under regulation 7 of the 2003 conduct regulations “preventing employment businesses from introducing or supplying agency workers to hirers to replace individuals taking part in official strike or official industrial action”.The staffing agencies said in the letter: “We strongly believe it has the potential to cost our businesses – as we will be held responsible for sending strike breakers across a picket line and putting our workers in harm’s way.

It will not matter if our individual businesses choose not to supply – the industry will be called into disrepute.”The companies noted that the

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