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Britain recruiters warn on strike law reforms

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A key aspect of government plans to reform trade union laws has come under fire from the recruitment industry.

As part of its Trade Union Bill, the government wants to end the ban on using agency workers to replace striking staff.

But the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has told the BBC it has real concerns about the move.

The government says its reforms will end unjustified disruption to working people’s lives.

There has been a ban on using agency workers in strike action since the 1970s.

The government is consulting on changing those regulations.

But Kate Shoesmith, head of policy at the REC, told the BBC: «We are not convinced that putting agencies and temporary workers into the middle of difficult industrial relations situations is a good idea for agencies, workers or their clients.»

The big recruitment agencies work in countries around the world. Most have signed up to the International Labour Organisation’s convention on private employment agencies.

Speaking at the Trades Union Congress in Brighton, the general secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, highlighted the agency worker plans.

«Everyone knows that if you can just replace strikers overnight, that undermines all the power that workers have to bring their employers to the table,» she said.

«Imagine the impact on the safety of whole workplaces run by untrained, inexperienced temporary staff. Think about what that would mean in education, energy or border control,» she added.

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