Workers' rights

Liberty responds to Government proposals on strike action

Posted on 24 Jun 2022

Liberty has responded to proposals from the Government to allow employers to hire supply staff to replace workers on strike.

Charlie Whelton, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Liberty, said:

“We should all be able to stand up for what we believe in and make our voices heard. Recent strike action has shown the importance of the freedom of association and assembly of trade union members, especially in the face of years of attacks on this right from the Government, including in the Trade Union Act of 2016.

“Liberty supports the right to strike, and is deeply concerned by Government plans to allow agency workers to replace workers on strike. Lifting the ban on this represents a significant, unjustified intrusion by the state into the right to strike. The proposals will make it harder for individuals to exercise the rights and entitlements that Parliament has decided should exist in the workplace.

“Permitting employers to hire supply workers during strikes will escalate tensions, prolong disputes, and fundamentally undermine the right to strike. It will force agency workers into difficult positions, create safety risks for the public, and rob workers of a vital and necessary tool to be used when employers fail to respond to concerns. Making these changes will mean that there is no reason for employers to engage with their workers in the multitude of disputes that are currently resolved long before a ballot is called.

“These new proposals must be seen in the context of the Policing Act, which dramatically curtailed the right to protest, and the Public Order Bill which seeks to take this even further. This Government has repeatedly sought to undermine our rights to freedom of association, assembly, and expression. Together with the ‘Bill of Rights’ – known as the Rights Removal Bill – these proposals represent yet another side of the Government’s power grab. On the streets, in the courts, and on the picket lines, the Government are closing off more and more routes to accountability, and we will all lose out because of it.”


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