Royal Mail threatened with court action over use of agency staff during strike

The postal union has repeated its threat to take Royal Mail to court over its decisions to hire agency workers to help cope with proposed strike action starting tomorrow (22 October).

Royal Mail has announced it would hire 30,000 temporary workers to clear the backlog in post created by the strike.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is currently seeking legal advice as to whether this could be in breach of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses regulations, which make it illegal for temporary workers to be used to undertake the work of striking employees.

The CWU’s executive has called on its branches to pass on any evidence on the use of agency workers to prepare a legal challenge.

A CWU spokesman told Personnel Today: “Court action is something we are very serious about. If Royal Mail goes ahead with the hiring of the 30,000 agency workers then we will be looking at legal action.”

The spokesman said the union would wait and see what type of work the temps undertook before legal action could be taken.

Royal Mail insisted it was acting fully in line with employment law. The temps were being hired to clear a backlog of letters, not to do the work of the postal workers while they were on strike, it said.

Talks between Royal Mail and the CWU are set to resume later in a last-ditch attempt to avert strike action.

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