Thank you for contacting me about the unethical practice of fire and rehire, where employers dismiss workers in order to re-employ them on worse terms.
I fully agree with you on this important issue. Fire and rehire needs to be outlawed. Allowing working people to be bullied on to lower wages and worse terms and conditions is both morally wrong and economically damaging. I am therefore proud to back the Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill, which seeks to protect workers against dismissal and re-engagement on inferior terms and conditions. The Government should use the Bill as a vehicle to outlaw this pernicious practise.
The practice of fire and rehire is not a new one. Unfortunately, though, it seems to have become increasingly common during the pandemic, with some companies taking advantage of the crisis to exploit workers. The Prime Minister has praised our nation’s workforce for getting us through the pandemic, yet the reward for 1 in 10 of them under his leadership is fire and rehire. When we should be building a fairer society out of the covid crisis, unscrupulous bosses are being given a green light to intimidate workers into accepting worse pay and conditions
We seem to constantly see news of a major employer threatening to sack its staff unless they agree to worse pay, terms and conditions. The TUC has found that nearly one in ten workers have been told to reapply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since March 2020.
The Government says it does not accept fire and rehire as a negotiation tactic. However, today it voted against the Bill. At the same time, it argues that some employers may feel they need to dismiss staff and re-engage them to ensure their sustainability. Yet, according to analysis from the Observer, 70% of companies accused of using fire and rehire tactics are making a healthy profit, with some even increasing executive pay. This is completely unacceptable, and we need urgent action, not warm words from the Government.
The use of this appalling practice will continue to spread so long as the Government refuses to ban it. We therefore need urgent legislation, not further delay. If the Government is serious about stopping the use of this tactic it should support the Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill. I was proud to stay down today and vote for this important Bill and the fight will not stop here.