A Private Members’ Bill, which intends to see ‘fire and rehire’ practices limited, is to be debated in the House of Commons today (22nd October).
A second reading of a bill which aims to see fire and rehire practices being limited in the UK is set to occur today.
First brought forward by Labour MP Barry Gardiner, the Bill has gained traction as the use of fire and rehire tactics have grown throughout the pandemic.
The bill stipulates that employees should be made aware and fully consulted regarding any fire and rehire plans.
If a dispute occurred between an employer and its staff, an independent committee would decide on whether the fire and rehire could go ahead.
Notably, the company British Gas made headlines earlier this year as it threatened to dismiss hundreds of engineers who failed to sign new contracts which called for longer hours and lower pay.
However, research indicated this practice had become more common across the board with almost one in 10 workers (9 per cent) having been asked to re-apply for their current job but on worse conditions since March 2020.
Mr. Gardiner stated that supporting the Bill would reduce intimidation, stop firing as a tactic, improve work certainty and increase co-operation.
In legal terms, the practice of firing and rehiring is lawful but can lead to unfair dismissal claims if established procedures, including collective consultation, are not staunchly followed.
Ahead of tomorrow’s vote, leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer, urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “stand by his own words” and “stop selling out working people and join Labour MPs to outlaw this despicable practice”.
He further added:
Fire and rehire is an appalling tactic to get around the law and cheat working people out of the pay and conditions that they have earned through their hard work.
[The Bill] will [enable staff] to claim automatic unfair dismissal if their employer tries to force them onto a worse contract.
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister stated firing and rehiring staff was “unacceptable” in order to boost a company’s profits.
However, news outlets have reported that Conservative MPs are allegedly being urged to vote against the bill.
If the bill passes the second stage, it will then proceed to committee stage where each clause and any amendments to the bill will be debated.