I sympathise entirely with the workers who are being hit by the deeply immoral practice of being fired and re-hired with inferior pay and worse terms and conditions. This is particularly egregious at a time of instability and financial insecurity for the whole country.
On Centrica/British Gas specifically, I know that many workers at the company have been doing vital work through the coronavirus pandemic, such as keeping people’s homes warm, while others have rightly won praise from the Trussell Trust for their work delivering food parcels during the lockdown. I therefore appreciate the anger that British Gas workers will have felt when they received their section 188 notices.
I agree with the approach set out by UNISON and GMB, that Centrica should ensure that changes made to improve the fortunes of Centrica/British Gas are made “with the workers, not to them”.
I have written to the Chief Executive of Centrica, Chris O’Shea, and raised my concerns with him. I have posted a copy of this letter below for you to see.
The Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill, which seeks to “prohibit employers dismissing employees and subsequently re-employing them for the purpose of diminishing the terms and conditions of employment”, was introduced to the House of Commons on 9 June 2020.
The Second Reading of the Bill is scheduled for Friday 11 September. However, the Bill is some way down the list of legislation to be considered that day and, therefore, without the support of the Government, it is unlikely to make any progress through Parliament.
Nevertheless, I can assure you that I will continue to monitor developments on this issue closely and support initiatives, like this Bill, which seek to strengthen workers’ rights.