Workers under threat from fire and rehire pay cuts of up to £12,000 will join MPs on a boat on the Thames tomorrow (Tuesday 11 May) to sail past parliament and demand the pernicious practice is outlawed in the Queen’s Speech. 

Photo and worker interview opportunity:

WHEN: 10:30am Tuesday 11 May  

WHERE: Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment, London, SW1A 2JH

Onboard the boat will be workers from JDE (Jacobs Douwe Egberts). JDE is attempting to dismiss and re-engage 291 employees at its Banbury coffee factory on new contracts that could see some workers lose between £7,000 and £12,000 a year. 

Staff from London-based letting services firm Goodlord, who are striking over £6,000 fire and rehire cuts, as well as other workers being impacted by the practice, will also be in attendance.  

The boat-based protest comes after Unite members staged demonstrations today in Birmingham, Leeds, Crewe, Mansfield, Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent calling for an end to the practice. 

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

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

Nearly 20 unions and more than 140 MPs and peers also joined together with Unite to call on the prime minister to use the Queen’s Speech to introduce legislation outlawing the controversial practice. 

Unite assistant general secretary for legal and politics Howard Beckett said: "It's quite clear that the public is firmly on the side of working people when it comes to the horrific practice of fire and rehire. 

“There is no grey area here - they can see that this is an objectionable practice which should be banned.

"The government has to get on the same page as the voters on this, and fast.

"It can do so with the Queen's Speech, bringing forward legislation to end fire and rehire to give the working people of this country the same protection as workers elsewhere, such as those in Ireland and Spain.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Photos of the boat demonstration and interviews with the workers can be provided.

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

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
 
Email: [email protected]

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