I am relieved that British Airways’ (BA) plan to use ‘fire and rehire’ tactics is currently shelved as a result of the revived negotiations between BA and trade unions, including Unite and GMB. I hope that these negotiations will be fruitful and bring an end to the threats to pay and conditions that are currently hanging over the heads of BA workers.
I believe that firing and rehiring tactics are disgraceful and should be banned. This is why I support the Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament in June.
However, I cannot see this Bill passing, as it is a Private Member’s Bill which does not have the backing of the Government. The Government says that the use of these tactics is a “commercial decision” and therefore, it should not interfere. Regardless, my Opposition colleagues and I will continue to push for a ban.
On the issue of legacy slots for BA; while aspects of legacy slots are subject to EU rules and a future trade deal, I have believed for some time that this needs to be looked at.
The Government’s Aviation 2050 consultation found that “the current process for slot allocation can create issues at highly constrained airports. The existing process can limit competition in the market and is unlikely to produce the best outcomes for consumers.” It noted historic grandfather rights as an issue. The Competition and Markets Authority has also said that it is concerned about the practice.
In addition to the economic and market-based considerations, I believe that the actions of airlines should impact their slot allocations, for example, if BA went ahead with its fire and rehire tactics.
I can assure you that I will continue to support a ban on fire and rehire tactics, a review of slot allocations, and a positive resolution to the ongoing industrial dispute at BA.