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Proposed anti 'fire and rehire' legislation welcome - Usdaw calls on the Government to back this attempt to fix the law

Date: 16 June 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw welcomes a proposal to amend the law and provide safeguards for workers against dismissal and re-engagement on inferior terms and conditions, known as ‘fire and rehire’. It will be presented to Parliament today at around 1.30pm.
The Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill, promoted Barry Gardiner MP (Labour, Brent North), receives its First Reading in the House of Commons today. It is number two on a list of 20 private members’ bills.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The Government backtracked on their manifesto promise and failed to bring forward an Employment Bill that could have banned ‘fire and rehire’. Instead they shelved the Bill and are simply pointing to voluntary ACAS guidance. Today they have the chance to right that wrong by backing this very welcome private members’ bill promoted by Barry Gardiner.
“Fire and re-hire tactics, to enforce contractual changes by sacking and then re-engaging workers, is legally controversial and morally bankrupt. Disgracefully, across the UK, we’ve seen a growing number of businesses using the uncertainty of job security in the pandemic to manipulate workers into taking worse terms. It is long overdue that the Government outlawed this practice. The Prime Minister has called it ‘unacceptable’, but those words are meaningless without action.
“In the absence of legal restraints on employers, preventing them from using ‘fire and rehire’, Usdaw has been forced to challenge the practice at Tesco through the High Court, having won a temporary interdict in the Scottish Court. Also Usdaw members at BCM Fareva are considering industrial action, opposing a pre-emptive threat to ‘fire and rehire’ staff.
“As the country tries to recover from the pandemic, we need a new deal for workers. that includes a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, more secure contracts, along with a ban on ‘fire and rehire’. The best way to thank key workers is to ensure fairness at work.”
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:
  • £10 minimum wage for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.
  • Better sick pay for all workers, from day one, at average earnings.
  • Protection at work – respect for shopworkers, abuse is not a part of the job.
  • A proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide a safety net.
  • Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and redundancy.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  • A voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions and end ‘fire and rehire’. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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