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Responding to reports today (Sunday) that the government is looking to lift the ban on the use of agency workers during strikes, TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak said:  

“This government is desperate to distract from its numerous failings by picking a fight with unions. 

“Allowing agency staff to replace striking workers would undermine the right to strike and be extremely reckless.  

“Bringing in less qualified and experienced staff to deliver important services would create genuine safety risks for the public and for the workforce.  

“Using agency workers to try and break strikes would put these workers in an appalling situation, worsen disputes and poison industrial relations. 

“Some may not realise until it is too late that they are being asked to break a strike. 

“Having repeatedly promised a high-wage economy, ministers now seem determined to reduce workers’ bargaining power and to make it harder for working people to win fair pay and conditions. 

“Let’s call this out for what it is. The PM is throwing red meat to his rebellious backbenchers to try and sure up his position.” 

Editors note

The Chief Executive of REC – the agency worker industry body – has today spoken out against the proposals. 

Neil Carberry tweeted

“Repealing the ban on agency workers replacing those on strike is the wrong policy - it puts agency workers and agencies in an invidious position and moves the focus away from resolving the dispute.  

“REC will oppose any moves in this direction.” 

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