Professor Jonathan Winterton on the current railway strikes

Professor Jonathan Winterton speaks about the current railway strikes and the legality of hiring agency staff to provide temporary cover during a strike.

The segment, broadcast on 13 June on LBC, addresses the government’s proposal to bring agency staff in to cover for striking staff on the railways.

Around 40,000 members of the RMT union will be walking out on three dates starting 21 June in a dispute over pay, pensions and job security.

Professor Jonathan Winterton touches on the UK’s weaker protections for workers compared to other countries such as France:

If you look at how P&O illegally replaced their workforce, even if substitution is unlawful, there’s very little redress from the courts.

The key issue for Professor Winterton is the impracticality of this proposed government solution.

Where can suitably qualified substitute workers be recruited? The UK is already facing serious labour shortages within the NHS, haulage, logistics, and baggage handlers. Brexit has made it more difficult to employ workers from European countries and I’m very sceptical that there are suitably qualified railway workers available and prepared to break the strikes.

This interview is not available to listen to online.

Professor Winterton also spoke to BBC Radio Leeds about the history of striking in this country and how this summer is being touted as the “summer of discontent”. Clip starts at 03:09:43.