Harrods ‘is set to replace its striking workers with agency staff’ as the luxury department store takes advantage of controversial new laws

  • Ministers lifted ban on temporary staff being allowed to replace striking workers
  • It means businesses can now provide skilled agency workers to fill staffing gaps 
  • 150 members of Unite union, who work at the store, will vote on strike action

Harrods is reportedly set to replace its striking workers with agency staff.

The luxury department store in Knightsbridge, central London, is allegedly the first employer to take advantage of controversial new laws.

In July, ministers lifted a ban on temporary staff being allowed to replace striking workers. It came after unions staged Britain’s biggest rail strike in 30 years.

It means businesses can now provide skilled agency workers to fill staffing gaps caused by strikes. 

According to The Mirror, approximately 150 members of Unite union, who work at the store, will vote on strike action in a row over pay.

A letter seen by the newspaper from Harrods to workers said the new legislation ‘now allows ­agencies to provide temporary workers to perform duties normally performed by a worker who is on strike’.

Harrods is reportedly set to replace its striking workers with agency staff

‘We are therefore no longer restricted from engaging temporary workers should any industrial action take place now or in the future,’ it added.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: ‘It comes as no surprise that Harrods, known for catering to the supremely well-off, could be the first employer Unite has come across to threaten low paid staff with the recent legislation designed to break strikes.

‘Harrods’ attempts to use this new legislation to bully our members doesn’t change a thing.

‘Unite is prepared for all eventualities and our members at Harrods will receive the full backing of the union in their fight for a fair pay rise.’

MailOnline has contacted Harrods for comment. 

The luxury department store in Knightsbridge, central London, is allegedly the first employer to take advantage of controversial new laws

When the law change on the use of agency workers came into force, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng hailed it as ‘good news for our society and for our economy’

When the law change on the use of agency workers came into force, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng hailed it as ‘good news for our society and for our economy’.

‘In light of militant trade union action threatening to bring vital public services to a standstill, we have moved at speed to repeal these burdensome, 1970s – style restrictions,’ he said.

‘From today, businesses exposed to disruption caused by strike action will be able to tap into skilled, temporary workers to provide the services that allow honest, hardworking people to get on with their lives.’

The Government has also changed the law to raise the maximum damages that courts can award against a union, when strike action has been found by the court to be unlawful.

For the biggest unions, the maximum award will rise from £250,000 to £1 million.

Source: Read Full Article