work to rule

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work to rule

A situation in which employees work only as much as has been agreed upon and no more, typically as a bargaining strategy (by unions). Instead of going on strike and stopping their work altogether, workers keep a more limited schedule than usual (i.e., no overtime), in order to slow down productivity. A: "The boss wants me to work some overtime tonight, but I can't, right?" B: "No. Because we're in a work to rule, you can only work your normal eight hours."
See also: rule, work

work to rule

(especially as a form of industrial action) follow official working regulations exactly in order to reduce output and efficiency. chiefly British
See also: rule, work
References in periodicals archive ?
Now the council won't budge because of new health and safety laws, so we begin a work-to-rule policy from Tuesday.
Fire Brigades' Union officials accused fire chiefs of deceiving the public and added that even if firefighters did resort to a work-to-rule, emergency calls would be answered promptly and safety would not be compromised.
If not, we will return to our position of a 35-hour-week work-to-rule.
The airline, however, insisted it will not have further talks with the pilots over the pay dispute unless they drop the work-to-rule campaign.
A row over pensions resulted in an indefinite work-to-rule beginning on Monday.
CY yesterday called on the Greek ATCs to end their work-to-rule as their actions were a major blow to the airline, which has no alternative route to European destinations, other than through Greek airspace.
HUNDREDS of staff at the Liverpool-based Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) were today starting a work-to-rule over pay.
Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association at Arriva Trains Wales could ban overtime and work-to-rule from the end of the month if they back action.
As previously reported, police in the region are discussing action - including a possible work-to-rule - after the government reneged on an agreed 3 per cent pay deal.
Union officials yesterday confirmed that industrial action, including a work-to-rule and strikes, sparked by a pay dispute will start next Wednesday.
Union leaders expect work-to-rule to fizzle out, but they haven't officially called off the action, which encourages teachers not to perform any tasks that they don't specifically get paid for, such as tutoring and unpaid extracurricular activities.
More than 96 per cent of contract cleaners and porters employed at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham said they would either operate on a work-to-rule or walk out if bosses did not make them a 'substantial offer', the public service union Unison said.
Stations across the North, including Wallsend, Hebburn and Tynemouth, saw unofficial work-to-rule protests yesterday as a national row broke out over when a 16pc pay rise was to be paid.
Dozens are already staging an unofficial work-to-rule and Edinburgh City Council are now desperate to avoid a mass walkout.
The deal announced on Friday ended the nurses work-to-rule in A&E departments.