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More headaches for employers as rail strikes cause more disruption

Whilst it is an employee’s responsibility to make their own way to work, it is in an employer’s best interests to be reasonably accommodating where a worker’s commute is only impacted for a limited period.

More rail strikes are planned for August, meaning thousands of commuters will be left struggling to get to work on time – if at all.

Following on from the strikes in July, the RMT has confirmed further strike action will take place on Thursday 18 August and Saturday 20 August.

Fourteen train operators and 40,000 staff will be taking part in the walkouts.

In addition, train drivers belonging to the union Aslef will strike for 24 hours on Saturday 13 August, and a strike affecting the London Underground can be expected on Friday 19 August.

Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, shares advice on the best way for employees to handle this situation:

“The strikes – however warranted they might be – will have knock-on effects for much of the workforce. Even those who don’t rely on the rail services may experience increased traffic on strike days which might cause them to be late.

“The recent repeal of the ban on using agency workers to cover striking staff may go some way in limiting the disruption felt by such industrial action, but there are still considerations for employers.

“Whilst it is an employee’s responsibility to make their own way to work, it is in an employer’s best interests to be reasonably accommodating where a worker’s commute is only impacted for a limited period.

“Rail strikes are completely outside of your employees’ control so it’s not fair that they should have to face diminished wages or being penalised if they can’t make it to work.

“It’s best to talk through the potential issues with your staff now in advance of the strikes to put a plan in place to minimise disruption to business operations.

“It may be a matter of allowing staff to work from home during impacted days or amending start and finish times. Organising a car-pooling scheme or providing free car parking or a cycle to work scheme may also be effective methods.

“And it’s important to remember that the days following the strike action are likely to have their timetables impacted too.

“But of course, it’s not always possible for employees to carry out their work duties at home. In these cases, there is the option of enforcing annual leave (if the correct notice is given) or asking staff to use accrued time off in lieu.”

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