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English definition of “work-to-rule”

work-to-rule

noun [C usually singular] uk   /ˌwɜːk.təˈruːl/ us    /ˌwɝːk-/
a situation in which people carefully obey all the rules and instructions given to them about their jobs, with the intention of reducing the amount of work they do: A work-to-rule is seen as a way to protest against low pay or bad working conditions.

work-to-rule

verb uk   /ˌwɜːk.təˈruːl/ us    /ˌwɝːk-/
work to rule to arrange and perform a work-to-rule: So far, the dustmen have not resorted to a strike but are working to rule.
(Definition of work-to-rule from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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