Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, will hold a demonstration on Monday (May 10) in Wolverhampton South West on the eve of the Queen’s Speech, demanding that the government takes action to outlaw the practice of fire and rehire.

WHEN: Monday 10 May 12:00

WHERE: 35 Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton WV3 0UF

Unite, the biggest union in the West Midlands, has been defending workers employed by huge companies like coffee giant JDE, where pay could be slashed by £12k a year.

Workers in fear

A study by the TUC found that since the beginning of the pandemic one in 10 workers have been threatened with the threat of fire and rehire, where they are made redundant and forced to accept new contracts on vastly inferior pay and conditions. 

The number of workers affected by fire and rehire is likely to dramatically increase as the government furlough scheme begins to wind down and companies look to use the pandemic as cover to slash costs and boost profits.

Pressure on government

Pressure is mounting on the government to take action as soon as possible. A Unite commissioned poll released last week found that 70 per cent of the public want it made illegal.

Unite is staging socially distanced protests across the UK to highlight the fire and rehire scandal and put further pressure on MPs to act. In particular, Unite is targeting the constituencies of so called ‘red wall’ Conservative MPs, where the threat of fire and rehire is understood to be especially acute.

In March, Paul Scully MP, the parliamentary-under-secretary of state for business, told parliament that the government “will tackle” fire and rehire, which he condemned as “bully boy tactics”. However, the government has failed to specify what action if any it will take to outlaw the practice.

Action needed

Unite deputy regional secretary for the West Midlands Natalia Stepnowska said: We’re not interested in sympathetic words from the government; we want action to protect the workers of this region. While fire and rehire is legal in this country, no worker is safe.

 “It is too easy for bad bosses to exploit working people in this country. The power to stop it sits with the prime minister. During the Queen’s Speech tomorrow, we’re calling on Mr Johnson to use that power, get behind Britain’s workers and ban fire and rehire.”

Union and MPs demand 

In a letter sent to Boris Johnson 20 trade unions and more that 140 Labour MPs and Lords called on the prime minister to introduce legislation outlawing fire and rehire.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

 Photos of the demonstrations will be available.

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.