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Stop “Fire and rehire”

The PDA support a private member’s bill which has its first reading in Parliament today and hopes to outlaw the practice of “Fire and rehire” which is increasingly being used by employers to cut employee benefits.

Wed 16th June 2021 The PDA

Unreasonable employers use the “Fire and rehire” tactic to force staff to accept lower wages, different hours or other changes to their contacts. In many other countries this is often against the law, but it can be lawful in the UK in some circumstances. However, on 16th June 2021 Barry Gardiner MP’s Private Member’s Bill will be introduced in parliament to outlaw this practice.

“Fire and rehire” is a term that has been in the news recently because several high profile employers, including British Gas, are using this approach to try to change their employees’ terms of employment. British Gas is part of Centrica and when they failed to negotiate contractual changes with the GMB trade union, they instead told thousands of employees that if they didn’t sign up for a new (and worse) contract they would be fired.

The “Stop the British Gas fire” campaign by GMB has had incredible support from across the country and across the political spectrum and the private members bill also has supporters from every major party, with even Jacob Rees-Mogg MP declaring that “Fire and rehire tactics shame businesses.”

Fire and rehire has existed for years, but as businesses plan to come out of the pandemic, employers are increasingly using the tactic as a way to boost profits at the expense of their workforce.  Though widely criticised, Fire and rehire can be lawful and the private members bill is intended to fix that by outlawing the practice.

Currently thousands of workers across the country are affected by this practice in all industries, large and small, including employees at Heathrow Airport, British Airways, Weetabix, Centrica and Jacobs Douwe Egberts as staff are in dispute with the employers who want to cut wages and conditions.

Company Chemists Association member, Tesco, is another employer attempting to use this tactic and has been taken to the High Court by trade union Usdaw regarding attempts to Fire and rehire staff in some distribution centres.  PDA members in many other community pharmacy companies may also note how their employers have reduced employee benefits over time. BCM Fareva, the Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products for leading brands including Boots (and previously the in-house manufacturing arm of Boots) is also threatening to fire and rehire workers at their Beeston site.

The PDA wants to see this bill become law and members may want to read more about the “Stop fire and rehire campaign here.

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