Unite, has today (June 16) endorsed Barry Gardiner’s parliamentary bill to end fire and rehire.
Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, called the practice, in which employers sack their workers only to rehire them on lower pay and worse conditions, “a disease that’s ripping through our workplaces”.
Barry Gardiner MP today presented his bill for the first time in Parliament as a Private Members Bill, having come second in the ballot of backbenchers to have the chance to create new legislation.
Opposition to fire and rehire has surfaced within the government under pressure from trade unions and opposition MPs.
Paul Scully MP, parliamentary-under-secretary of state for business, said the government “will tackle” fire and rehire, which he condemned as “bully-boy tactics”, but has failed to bring forward a law to stop it.
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, leader of the House of Commons, called fire and rehire threats “wrong” and a “bad practice”, adding companies should know “better than behave in this way”.
Endorsing Barry Gardiner’s bill on behalf of Unite, general secretary Len McCluskey said, “Fire and rehire’ is ripping through our workplaces like a disease.
“Weak law lets bad bosses force through brutal changes to contracts, sometimes taking thousands of pounds off wages that families need to get by.
“It’s a disgraceful practice that’s outlawed in much of Europe and should be here.
“Unite is fighting for UK workers to be treated with the same decency. We won’t stop until the law is changed to protect working people from attack.”
Unite assistant general secretary for politics and legal, Howard Beckett, added, “It’s quite clear that the public is firmly on the side of working people when it comes to the horrific practice of fire and rehire.
“There is no grey area here. They see that this is an objectionable practice that should be banned. The government has to get on the same page as voters on this and fast.”
Barry Gardiner MP noted, “I have been really encouraged by the support I have received from MPs from every party and every corner of the country. This issue effects millions of working people across Britain and their families.
“Every union and good employer knows fire and rehire is wrong and together we can make Britain the best place to work. Carpenters, cleaners and comedians all back this Bill,” he added.
“I have been travelling the country to promote the Bill and I have heard terrible stories that are an embarrassment to British industry but together I know we can win.”
Ahead of Gardiner presenting the Bill, Unite held a day of action outside Parliament (pictured), which was attended by several Labour MPs, as well as Unite members and activists.
Stay tuned tomorrow for our full coverage of the day’s event.
By Ryan Fletcher
Photo by Mark Thomas