Trade Unions Order and Employment Agency Regulations 2022

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 allow agency workers to be sent to fill in for workers on strike. Going on strike is used as a last resort by workers to defend good working conditions and fair pay. The Government is attacking this right while doing little to address the conditions contributing to the strikes, breaking decades of consensus. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation who represent employment agencies have called the proposals “unworkable”, and the Government’s own impact assessment has said only 2% of lost working hours could be replaced by agency workers.

Moreover, the plans raise significant safety concerns for the British public. When P&O Ferries replaced its experienced workforce with agency crew earlier this year there were 31 separate safety failings. The Government has not explained how temporary staff could safely operate entire industries such as the rail network.  I voted against the regulations, Ayes:289 and Noes: 202.

HM Opposition tabled a “prayer” motion to annul the Liability of Trade Unions in Proceedings in Tort (Increase of Limits on Damages) Order 2022, which would increase fourfold the damages which can be claimed against Unions. The Government has put forward a piece of legislation relating to circumstances which are in practice very rare, it seems solely as a threat to Unions. I voted in favour of the motion to annul the Order, which was not passed, Ayes: 201 and Noes: 290.