I have long believed that fire and rehire tactics should be outlawed; these involve employers dismissing workers in order to re-employ them on worse terms.
Allowing working people to be bullied on to lower wages and worse terms and conditions is both morally wrong and economically damaging.
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.
We seem to see constantly news of a major employer threatening to sack their 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, yet it has consistently put off taking action to stop it. 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.
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 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. I hope that the Government will support this Bill, despite its opposition to previous Bills that sought to ban fire and rehire tactics.
I can assure you that I will do all I can to support the Bill’s passage, to press the Government on this issue, and to put a stop to this unethical and exploitative practice.