Thank you to all those constituents that contacted me about the Private Members Bill: Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement), or fire and rehire. As a former trade union official, I agree with you on this important issue and that we must protect employment rights. Fire and rehire should be outlawed. I was therefore proud to back the Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill, which seeks to protect workers employment rights.
The Government says it does not accept fire and rehire as a negotiation tactic. However, it has consistently put off taking action to stop it, and unfortunately, at its second reading last week, the Conservatives blocked the bill by a majority of 63 votes.
The practice of fire and rehire is not a new one. The threat of Fire and Rehire as a negotiating tactic is causing workers unimaginable financial and mental pressure with many losing up to a third off their yearly salary. Unfortunately, though, it seems to have become increasingly common during the pandemic, with some companies taking advantage of the crisis to exploit workers. We seem to constantly see news of a major employer threatening to sack their staff unless they agree to worse pay, and 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 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 protections to make Britain the best place to work in. Where we should be rewarding the workforce for their efforts, and building a fairer society out of the covid crisis, instead the reward for 1 in 10 workers is fire and rehire used to intimidate workers into accepting worse pay and conditions.
Fire and rehire is not just bad for working people, who are told to work harder but at the same time paid less; the practice is bad for our economy too, due to loss of productivity meaning- less money to the exchequer.
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. I can assure you that I will do what I can to support the Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill and 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 on this issue and I assure you I will continue to follow developments on this closely.