Definition of work to rule in English:

work to rule

phrase

British
  • 1Follow official working rules and hours exactly in order to reduce output and efficiency, especially as a form of industrial action.

    • ‘There's talk of the police working to rule and having protest marches against overtime cuts and stuff.’
    • ‘The options include working to rule, an overtime ban and days on which fares will not be collected.’
    • ‘We may even consider working to rule and start taking lunchbreaks, which we never do in order to get the round finished.’
    • ‘The union has confirmed that all members are working to rule and that a strike will take place on February 6.’
    • ‘Workers in the planning department who are not on strike are working to rule.’
    • ‘More bad news this week as public school teachers across Bermuda began working to rule in protest at another last minute Ministry decision.’
    1. 1.1as noun work-to-rule An instance or period of working to rule.
      ‘management urged cabin crew to call off their work-to-rule’
      • ‘Workers in the planning department who are not on strike are working to rule.’
      • ‘In a bid to keep up pressure on their employers, the workers were due to stage a work to rule this week.’
      • ‘By withdrawing their labour or even working to rule they may be able to deprive the public of a key service.’
      • ‘Must show solidarity, join the union, march for better conditions, withdraw participation in voluntary activities, work to rule.’
      • ‘The campaign has mainly revolved around working to rule.’
      • ‘One of the servers here is on a work to rule.’
      • ‘Last week representatives of the 360 pilots who have been working to rule decided to escalate the action.’
      • ‘Last Monday the refuse collectors announced a work to rule.’
      • ‘They have launched a strict work to rule to put the pressure on management.’
      • ‘Even the police have, on occasion, not been averse to a spot of work to rule.’