REC Healthcare- Doctors' Industrial action, Thursday 21st June
You are no doubt aware that doctors will be taking their first industrial action for nearly forty years tomorrow. The British Medical Association, the doctors' union, state the action is to be taken over proposed pension reforms and is set to last for a 24-hour period in which doctors will deliver only 'urgent and emergency care'. Patients will be turned away unless they are deemed seriously ill and all planned operations, scans and consultations will be postponed.
We would like to remind our members and their clients of a number of restrictions which may apply to recruitment agencies when supplying staff during industrial action. The position is governed by Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulation 2003 (the Conduct Regulations) which prohibits an employment business from supplying workers to clients to perform:
(a) the duties normally performed by a worker who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action ("the first worker"); or
(b) the duties normally performed by any other worker employed by the hirer and who is assigned by the hirer to perform the duties normally performed by the first worker.
Employment agencies and businesses must not supply a work seeker to a hirer to perform the duties of one of the hirers staff (the first worker) or any other worker who has been assigned by the hirer to carry out the duties of the first worker where the first worker is taking part in official industrial action (unless you are unaware or have no reason or grounds for knowing that the first worker is involved in industrial action).
In some instances an employment business may already be supplying staff to a client prior to the commencement of any industrial action and the question which would then arise is whether the employment business can continue to supply those agency workers. The issue here is whether or not the agency workers will be doing the work of the striking employees.
So although you cannot supply additional workers to cover the work of those employees who are on strike, the existing temporary workers may still continue to work if they are undertaking the same work as they were before the strike and do not take on any additional duties to cover the striking staff.
In all cases where members are aware that there could be potential issues relating to industrial action, it is advisable for members to seek additional protection by requesting a written undertaking from the client that the staff the client has requested will not be used to replace workers who are on official strike or to replace staff that the client has transferred to undertake the duties of workers who are taking part in official industrial action.
REC Healthcare is committed to working in partnership with organisations across the health service to promote best practice and the effective management of the flexible workforce. If you would like to learn more about REC Healthcare and the REC public sector resourcing campaign, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org