Unions mount legal challenge to strike-break law as teaching staff consider pay walk-outs

A legal challenge is being mounted against a new law that allows employers to bring in agency workers to help break strikes.

It comes as hundreds of thousands of teachers and support staff are being balloted over potential strike action in response to this year’s pay settlements.

The new law applies in England, Scotland and Wales and came into force in July. It means that organisations “most affected by industrial action will be able to call upon skilled, temporary staff at short notice to plug essential positions”.

It involved a change to the so-called Conduct Regulations 2003, which previously protected employees' right to strike and ensured agency workers could not replace them.

In announcing the new law, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEI) specifically cited education as an example of a sector where the new law could be applied.

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