Today I was proud to be supporting a vote to stop the vicious practice of fire and rehire, but Boris Johnson shamefully made his Tory MPs vote against Barry Gardiner MP’s Private Members’ Bill.
Fire and rehire is when an employer threatens to sack all or part of the workforce unless they sign a new contract, usually on worse oay and or terms and conditions. It is a way of ducking responsibility and evading the terms and conditions the employer has already agreed in existing contracts.
Recent examples of fire and rehire have involved eye-watering cuts to wages, annual leave and maternity leave, with working hours increased. Pensions can also be at significant risk. Currently this practice is usually lawful so long as the employer gives full notice to each employee.
Fire and rehire is not a new phenomenon, but high-profile cases involving major employers, such as British Gas, British Airways, and Weetabix, mean that it must be tackled without delay. When we should be building a fairer economy and society out of the Covid crisis, household name businesses were using it to force their staff on to lower wages, longer hours and make cuts benefits such as pensions.
The Covid-19 pandemic must be a turning point for the country. The Government must bring about a recovery policy agenda to level-up the playing field between employers and employees and strengthen employment protections to make Britain the best place to work in.
Workers across the country have put their lives on the line during the pandemic but fire and rehire is another disease ripping through our society.
The Government have been full of warm words: Boris Johnson said fire and rehire was “unacceptable”, the Business Secretary says its “bully-boy tactics” and he said the Government will “tackle” fire and rehire. However today we saw that the Government refuse to take action by shamefully voting against a Bill going to a vote to do just that.