More than three quarters of public want fire and rehire to be made illegal

10 May 2021
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Ahead of the Queen’s Speech GMB and Labour call on Government to bring forward a much-delayed Employment Bill and outlaw fire and rehire

More than three quarters of the public want fire and rehire to be made illegal, exclusive polling shows.

The poll, conducted by Survation on behalf of GMB shows that 76% of those questioned said the practice of fire and rehire should be against the law – including 71% of Conservative voters.

Figures from the poll of more than 1,000 adults also show that 67% would be less likely to buy goods or services from a company which used fire and rehire.

Hundreds of British Gas engineers were sacked after refusing to sign up to a 15% cut in pay rates and other imposed changes on their terms and conditions.

British Gas parent company Centrica pledged to never use the tactic again, while during the dispute fire and rehire was condemned by politicians of all stripes.

Almost one in ten workers have been threatened with dismissal and re-engagement on inferior contracts during the pandemic, according to separate polling for the TUC.

GMB is now calling for the much-delayed Employment Bill to be announced in the Queens Speech tomorrow [Tuesday] and the legislation to include making the practice of fire and rehire illegal.

GMB is also calling on Minsters to finally publish the outcomes of a review commissioned from Acas on the extent of the tactic's use during the pandemic.

Warren Kenny, GMB Acting General Secretary said:

“Fire and rehire is a dirty, bullying tactic used by unscrupulous bosses.

“It has no place in the modern world of work – and the public know it.

“British Gas blamed dodgy legal advice and promised to never to use it again. That’s too late for the 100s of loyal engineers they sacked.

“Meanwhile, we’ve been waiting since the Government got elected in 2019 for Ministers to bring forward their promised Employment Bill which they said would make the UK the best place in the world to work.

“While fire and rehire is legal in the UK and banned elsewhere this remains a broken promise.

“At the moment they won't even publish the review of fire and rehire that they commissioned – what have they got to hide?

“Enough is enough, GMB calls on the Government to make fire and rehire illegal and end this cruel, outdated practice for good. They can make a start by announcing it tomorrow [Tuesday].”

Andy McDonald, Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights, said:

“The Government has neglected workers by failing to outlaw fire and rehire tactics even after they have become widespread.

“There is an urgent need for a new deal for working people that must include banning this damaging and immoral practice.”

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