Grant Shapps delivers huge blow to striking unions with vow to legalise agency staff

London Waterloo station quiet as strike by rail workers begins

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The Government is looking to minimise disruption caused by industrial action by allowing agency staff to be brought in to carry out services. It will give firms the opportunity to continue to operate despite workers walking out.

At the moment there are strict legal requirements that prevent companies from hiring new staff to fulfil the duties of those on strike.

Up to 80 percent of train services are cancelled this morning with thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail and 13 train operators taking part in an industrial dispute over pay and working conditions.

They will also walk out again on Thursday and on Saturday, forcing millions of Britons to work from home, while leaving GCSE and A level students struggling to get to exams.

Vowing action to prevent a repeat of this week, Mr Shapps told Sky News: “We are going to ensure that the law is firmly on the passengers’ side.”

Doing the media rounds, he added while on LBC radio: “We are going to change the law to ensure there can be much more flexibility, the law which is sometimes referred to as agency is actually more about transferability.

“That sort of modernisation can be achieved, if we can’t get it by agreement with the unions, by changing the law.

“And we will change the law in rapid order in the next month or two to ensure that transferable skills are allowed.”

More to follow…

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