Thank you to everyone who has written to me in recent weeks about the campaign to end fire and rehire.
As a former trade union lawyer – I represented trade union members for nearly 30 years before being elected to represent you as your Labour Member of Parliament in 2015 – I know how exploitative and unfair the practice of fire and rehire is.
The power imbalance in the relationship between employer and employee and the lack of suitable employment rights in law has allowed companies to exploit that power imbalance and treat loyal and hardworking employees appallingly.
British Gas is a prime example. I visited striking British Gas engineers on their GMB picket line in Cardiff who had been subject to this practice. Their employment was terminated and they were being forced to take a pay cut and reduced terms and conditions or lose their jobs altogether.
I wrote to the Chief Executive of British Gas last year urging him to change course.
Labour leader Keir Starmer MP has condemned fire and rehire in Parliament and at Prime Minister’s Questions demanding that the Government legislate to outlaw it. The next Labour Government will do exactly that. Labour has repeatedly called on the Government to bring forward it’s promised Employment Bill after a two year delay and to include measure within it outlawing fire and rehire. The Government has said that fire and rehire tactics are ‘unacceptable’ but it has flatly refused to do anything about it.
In January we forced a debate and a vote on the issue in Parliament. Not a single Conservative MP bothered to vote at the conclusion of the debate that called for the end of fire and rehire.
At the beginning of May, I signed a letter to the Prime Minister alongside Labour colleagues, calling on him to include legislation to outlaw fire and rehire in the Queen’s Speech that sets out the Government’s legislative programme for the new parliamentary session. I attach a copy of that letter for your information.
As a trade union member for over thirty years and Chair of the GMB Parliamentary Group of Labour MP’s, please be assured that I and all my Labour colleagues will continue to push the Government to bring forward legislation to outlaw this practice.
Thank you again to everyone who’s contacted me about this.