In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by solicitor James Denton...

If workers strike, can I engage temps to keep production going?

Q: With all the strikes currently taking place across a wide spectrum of industries, I am seriously worried that some of my workforce may decide to follow suit and leave me with a big hole in productivity that I can ill afford. If they do strike, where would I stand in respect of taking on temporary agency workers in order to keep the production lines rolling?

A: Unfortunately, if an employment agency supplied you with workers to cover either the work of staff who were on strike, or those within the business that had been redeployed to cover striking staff, they would be committing a criminal offence. Further, if you requested staff from an agency with a specific view to covering striking or redeployed workers you may also find yourself liable.

It has recently been suggested that the legislation preventing agency staff being engaged to cover for striking workers or those redeployed to do their work may encourage strikes, which in turn has led to talk about it being removed in the future. Currently, however, you should ensure that you stay within the law. You could redeploy workers from elsewhere in the business to cover the work done by the striking workers, and then use agency staff to do their jobs. Or perhaps you could outsource the work to a third party? Both these things should keep you within the law.

Another course of action might be to call a meeting with your workers if they are dissatisfied and try to dissuade them from strike action by explaining the impact that such action would have on your business, and the personal implications striking would bring for them and the wider workforce in respect of pay etc. Keeping communications open with the trade union is also important, as it will demonstrate your willingness to behave reasonably and your wish to seek a resolution of the dispute.

• This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194.