10 per cent of British workers have already been affected by ‘fire and rehire’

A general view of the Brent Civic Centre and Wembley Library in Wembley, London.

Brent Council unanimously passed a motion condemning the use of ‘fire and rehire’ - Credit: PA Images

The Covid-19 pandemic has been not only a public health catastrophe, but also disastrous for working rights in this country. 

Whilst some employers are legitimately struggling, others have behaved opportunistically. 

An example of this has been the widespread use of ‘fire and rehire’, a practice through which workers are made to sign new contracts at risk of dismissal, normally with worse terms and conditions.

A TUC report found 10 per cent of British workers have already been affected by ‘fire and rehire’, with working-class, BME and younger workers most at risk. 

The Observer reported that in nearly 70pc of cases, the companies inflicting this on their staff are turning a profit.

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It is therefore extremely positive that on September 20, Brent Council unanimously passed a motion condemning the use of ‘fire and rehire’ and reiterating its vow not to work with companies who engage in unethical employment practices. 

Gwen Grahl is the Labour Party candidate in the Brondesbury Park by-election on May 6.

Gwen Grahl says that Brent Councils motion on 'fire and rehire' is extremely positive - Credit: Labour Party

This continues Brent’s long-term commitment to good quality and sustainable employment, evidenced by schemes such as Brent Works, as well as in its substantial efforts to tackle in-work poverty.

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The motion, submitted by myself and Cllr Daniel Kennelly of Preston ward, commits the council to setting up a local employment charter aiming to foster good relations between local employers and trade unionists, with good working rights and a real living wage as its goals.

It also pledges support for the impressive national campaign established by Brent North MP Barry Gardiner against ‘fire and rehire’, which has the support of 22 UK trade unions. 

His Private Members’ Bill, which is due its second reading on October 22, has the support of a cross-parliamentary group of MPs. If passed, it will take steps towards delegitimising and ending the use of ‘fire and rehire’.

To maximise the chances of Barry Gardiner’s important proposed legislation being enacted, I encourage Brent residents to write to Kwasi Kwarteng, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, in support of the bill.

I am proud that every Brent Councillor recognises ‘fire and rehire’ as a destructive and opportunistic practice, and understands that to safeguard our residents we must take a stand against exploitation in all its forms.

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