Hackney Labour joins fight against ‘fire and rehire’

Hackney Councillors and Mayor unanimously voted in favour of a Labour motion at a Council meeting last night which committed the Council to campaign against and condemn pernicious ‘fire and rehire’ employment practices locally and nationally.

Proposing the motion, Cllr Gilbert Smyth said: “Using fire and rehire tactics goes against our Labour values of standing up for workers rights. It is used to unfairly drive down terms and conditions, and its use by employers is at risk of increasing as coronavirus support slips away.”

“I am delighted that a Hackney Labour motion to campaign against the practice unanimously passed at the Council. It will help send a clear statement to employers locally that the practice will be actively resisted in the Borough, and is a testament to Hackney Labour’s commitment to building a fairer Hackney.”

Seconding the motion, Cllr Richard Lufkin said: “Fire and rehire is a pernicious employment practice that allows employers to force worse terms and conditions onto their staff. It should be outlawed for good, and I am delighted that the Council will now be campaigning to see that happen. 

“I’m also delighted that the Hackney Conservatives joined us in voting in favour of the motion, and hope to see them as promised lobbying Conservative MPs to outlaw the practice.”

Philip Glanville, the Labour & Co-operative Mayor of Hackney said: “Passing this motion is the latest step in Hackney Labour’s fight for a fairer Hackney where every worker has decent pay, terms and conditions”.

“Part of that mission includes always standing with workers and trade unions in the fight against bad employer practices and in favour of employee representation. I am delighted to lead a Council that is now clear that fire and rehire is not welcome here.”

Fire and rehire, formally known as dismissal and re-engagement, allows employers to fire members of staff and rehire the same staff members in the same job but on worse terms and conditions.

The motion commits the Council to make a clear, public statement against fire and rehire and ensure its Sustainable Procurement Strategy promotes good pay, terms and conditions. 

It also commits the Council to lobby the UK national government to introduce new legislation to outlaw firing and rehiring, exemplified by Barry Gardiner MP’s recent private member’s bill, “Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-Engagement) Bill which was voted down by the Tory Government.

1 in 10 workers have been threatened with fire and rehire tactics by their employer over the pandemic, with young, Black and minority ethnicity staff most affected, according to research by the Trade Union Congress.

ACAS reported that the practice has become increasingly more prevalent, and would be used more frequently as coronavirus pandemic support is taken away.