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Government should support a much needed anti 'fire and rehire’ law - Usdaw calls on MPs to back the Bill

Date: 22 October 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw welcomes proposed new legislation to provide safeguards for workers against dismissal and re-engagement on inferior terms and conditions, known as ‘fire and rehire’.
The Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill, promoted by Barry Gardiner MP (Labour, Brent North), is timetabled for second reading in the House of Commons today.
 
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.
 
“The use of fire and re-hire tactics, to enforce contractual changes by sacking and then re-engaging workers, is 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, Usdaw members at BCM Fareva have taken industrial action over the company using fire and rehire to slash their terms and conditions. That dispute is ongoing and further industrial action is due to take place next month.
 
“Usdaw has also taken legal action against Tesco, to stop an attempt to renege on a long-standing agreement on pay for distribution workers, by using fire and rehire tactics. We have won a temporary interdict in the Scottish Court and are currently taking a case through the High Court in England.”
 
“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:
  • A minimum wage of a least £10 per hour immediately 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 370,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry 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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