Fire and rehire is wrong and should be outlawed. Using the threat of unemployment to reduce pay and diminish terms and conditions is against British values, undermines good employers, harms working people and damages our economy.
Worryingly, this practice seems to have become more common during the pandemic. The TUC, for example, has found that nearly one in ten workers have been told to reapply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since the first lockdown in March 2020.
I congratulate workers at British Airways who have fought successfully to secure a deal to end the use of fire and rehire at the company. But I remain extremely concerned at the actions of Centrica/British Gas, which has acted on its threats and fired around 500 employees who refused to sign up to a new contract with worse conditions. The workers at British Gas who have been on strike against attempts to diminish their pay and conditions in this way have my full solidarity and support.
In January, I supported a call in the House of Commons for the Government to set out a timetable for banning fire and rehire. Unfortunately, the Tory Government did not support this call. In addition, despite having received evidence from ACAS on fire and rehire in February – and stating explicitly in March that it was not kicking the issue into the long grass – it is still yet to publish either this evidence or its response to it.
Furthermore, even while acknowledging that fire and rehire in negotiations is unacceptable, the Tory Government argues some employers need to offer different terms and conditions to employees to ensure their sustainability. Yet the Observer reports that 70% of companies accused of using fire and rehire tactics are making a healthy profit, with some even increasing executive pay. I have raised the abhorrent practice of Fire and Rehire in Parliamentary debate, you can view this here:
I believe the Conservative Government’s lack of action has allowed fire and rehire to become widespread. We need urgent legislation to ban this tactic, not further delay. I can therefore assure you that I will continue to support efforts to press the Government on this issue and put a stop to this unethical and exploitative practice.
Thank you once again for contacting me.