Unions call for ‘fire and rehire’ to be banned

The Government has been urged to bring forward the measure in an Employment Bill in the Queen’s Speech.

Frances O’Grady
Frances O’Grady

Unions are stepping up demands that the Government announces moves this week to outlaw the controversial practice of “fire and rehire” of workers.

Several disputes have flared this year, with unions claiming companies have threatened to sack workers unless they accept cuts in pay and conditions.

Union leaders said an expected Employment Bill in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech should include measures to tackle the issue.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at work.

“But this pandemic has brutally exposed the terrible working conditions and insecurity many of our key workers in retail, care and delivery face.

“The Government has run out of excuses. It must deliver on its promise to boost workers’ rights.

“That means using this month’s Queen’s Speech to bring forward its long overdue Employment Bill.

“If Boris Johnson is serious about levelling up Britain he must ban zero-hours contracts and other exploitative working practices once and for all.”

Warren Kenny, acting general secretary of the GMB, said: “Fire and rehire is a dirty, bullying tactic used by unscrupulous bosses.

“It has no place in the modern world of work and the public know it. We’ve been waiting since the Government got elected in 2019 for ministers to bring forward their promised Employment Bill which they said would make the UK the best place in the world to work.

“While fire and rehire is legal in the UK and banned elsewhere, this remains a broken promise.

“At the moment they won’t even publish the review of fire and rehire that they commissioned – what have they got to hide?”

The Public and Commercial Services union called for legislation to “level up” the pay, terms and conditions and pensions of civil servants.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Civil servants have kept the country functioning in the face of a deadly global pandemic, delivering universal credit and the furlough scheme, working at our ports, borders and prisons.

“It is a national disgrace that these hard-working public servants have had a decade of pay cuts in real terms.

“A 10% rise across the civil service and related areas would be a massive shot in the arm for our members and no less than they deserve.

“The Government must also end contracting out which has led to inferior terms and conditions and poorer value for money and bring services back in house.

“Contractors and ministers have reaped the benefits of this gravy train for far too long and the pandemic has been an opportunity for the government to hand contracts to their mates in the private sector.”

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