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  • TUC accuses Grant Shapps of using “P&O playbook” 
  • Unions and agency recruitment industry say the plans are “unworkable” 
  • Agency staff will be put in an “impossible position”, warns union body 

Commenting on the government’s decision today (Thursday) to lift the ban on the use of agency workers during strikes, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:  

“The government should be getting people around the table to find a fair resolution to this rail dispute. 

“But ministers are more interested in cynically picking a fight with unions than reaching a negotiated settlement. 

“Having slammed P&O for replacing experienced workers with agency staff, Grant Shapps is using the same playbook. 

“These plans are a deliberate attempt to undermine the right to strike and to reduce workers’ bargaining power. 

“Bringing in less qualified agency staff to deliver important services will endanger public safety, worsen disputes and poison industrial relations.” 

Commenting on why the plans are unworkable, Frances added:  

“Unions and the agency recruitment industry have both warned ministers these plans are unworkable. 

“Asking agency staff to break strikes will put them in an appalling and impossible situation. 

“Some may not realise until it is too late that they are being asked to cross picket lines and replace striking workers. 

“The government is chasing headlines, rather than acting in the national interest.” 

The TUC and REC issued a joint statement on Monday calling on the government to abandon its plan to lift the ban on agency workers filling in during strikes.   

The TUC has warned that the government’s plans could be in breach of international law (Freedom of association: ILO Convention 87). 

Editors note

About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


TUC press office    020 7467 1248  

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