Agency workers should be allowed to cover strikes, says right-wing think tank

Firms whose staff are threatening strikes should be legally allowed to hire replacement agency workers, a centre-right think tank has said.

The comments by Progressive Vision come after the union Unite this week confirmed that BA cabin crew had voted overwhelmingly to strike following a dispute about pay, jobs and working conditions.

The organisation is calling for an end to the ban on hiring replacement agency workers during industrial action.

Shane Frith, director of Progressive Vision, said the proposed strikes at BA demonstrated the need for radical amendments to labour relations laws to prevent trade unions from “holding the nation’s economy hostage”.

“Such an amendment does nothing to restrict the rights of workers to withdraw their labour. However, if workers exercise this right, why should employers have their rights restricted by preventing them from hiring willing workers?

“Britain’s economy and competitiveness is in tatters. The only way the nation can return to true prosperity is to improve productivity and this will not be achieved with trade unions resisting much needed reforms and crippling vital businesses.”

British Airways (BA) cabin crew will strike, after the ballot gained an 80.7% vote in favour of strikes on a turnout of 78.7% after nearly 11,700 ballot papers were issued.

The strike dates are yet to be announced, but Unite previously ruled out taking industrial action over the Easter holiday period.

Unite was unavailable for comment.

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