Petition to make fire and rehire illegal tops 228,000 signatures

Launched by Organise, an online community for workers to anonymously discuss workplace issues and campaign for better rights and conditions at work.

8 Aug 2022| News

petition urging the UK government to enact legislation to protect workers from companies attempting to terminate contracts and rehire them on lower pay and worse terms and conditions has been launched, garnering nearly 228,000 signatures.

Fire and rehire, is the controversial tactic that caused widespread outrage in March, when P&O sacked over 800 workers by zoom and replaced them with cheaper agency workers. 

Westminster flew into a rage at the time, with politicians lining up to condemn the actions taken by P&O. However, the storm blew over, and there was no legal action taken against the company by the government. 

However, it highlighted how precarious UK jobs could be and the need for stronger employment protections for workers. 

Professor Keith Ewing, President of the Insitute of Employment Rights, examined the fire and rehire tactic at the time in a three-part series

The Institute of Employment Rights advocates for legislation protecting against fire and rehire. The Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill which was proposed by Labour’s Barry Gardiner and backed by the IER to pass a law that would prevent employers from using fire and rehire tactics to bully workers into lower paid jobs. However, the government blocked this in October 2021.

Director of the Institute of Employment Rights Ben Sellers said: 

“We have a serious problem with employment relations in this country. These issues go back four decades at least, and are part of a raft of anti-trade union, deregulatory legislation that has left employment protections in name only. There’s a clear need for stronger enforcement mechanisms against exploitative employers who put shareholders interests first, whilst ruining the lives of their workers”