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In brief

Following the government’s recent announcement, Parliament has approved the removal of the prohibition on businesses using temporary workers to cover staff taking part in industrial action and increased the maximum amount of damages that a court can award against a trade union for unlawful strike action. These changes became effective on 21 July 2022.

Key takeaways

  • The ability to use temporary workers will give businesses who face the prospect of industrial action greater flexibility to respond.
  • However, while legal, it is worth thinking about the impact on industrial, employee and public relations that taking these steps might have. A number of employment businesses have publically announced that their workers will not replace workers taking part in industrial action. While the additional flexibility is welcome, businesses should think carefully about how these changes will impact their contingency planning going forwards.
  • It will also be interesting to see whether the change to the statutory cap on compensation leads to more employers choosing to sue for damages rather than apply for injunctions to stop the strikes going ahead at all.

For advice or to discuss what this means for you and your business, please contact your usual Baker McKenzie contact.


John Evason manages the employment team in London. He is a specialist employment lawyer advising on all aspects of employment law. He is ranked as a star individual in Chambers and a leading individual in Legal 500. He is a member and former chair of the Legislative and Policy Sub-Committee of the Employment Lawyers Association which provides comments to the UK government on new and amended legislation and regulations. He is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars, and frequently contributes to various legal and personnel publications.


Jonathan Tuck is a partner in the Baker McKenzie employment department. Jonathan joined the Firm in June 2012 and completed secondments at Google between March and July 2015 and British Airways between July 2015 and January 2016.


Mandy Li is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie London office.

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