Wirral MP calls on government to protect employment rights and end ‘shameful’ fire and re-hire tactics
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27 Jan 2021
Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to issue a cast-iron guarantee that all existing employment rights will be protected.
The Wirral West MP was speaking in a parliamentary debate which was called by Labour following a recent report in the Financial Times that the government was considering ending the 48-hour working week, changing the rules around rest breaks at work and not including overtime pay when calculating some holiday pay entitlements.
Margaret Greenwood also urged the government to put an end to ‘fire and rehire’ whereby an employer dismisses an employee and then offers to re-engage them on reduced terms and conditions. She said that it ‘brings insecurity, misery and anxiety to working people and our communities’.
A vote at the end of the debate saw Labour’s motion urging ministers to maintain all existing employment rights and protections and set out a timetable by the end of 2021 to introduce legislation to end ‘fire and re-hire’ tactics, was passed by 263 votes to zero, with MPs on the government benches abstaining.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said:
"It is vital that hard-won employment rights are protected.
“The recent report in the Financial Times that the government was ready to rip up the hard-won rights of workers was a matter of very real concern.
"So too was the admission by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in front of the BEIS Committee that his department ‘wanted to look at the whole range of issues relating to our EU membership and examine what we wanted to keep’.
"I am pleased that ministers have been forced to climb down from this. Such changes would be immensely detrimental to working people and their families.
“Ministers should also legislate to end fire and rehire as a matter of urgency. One Wirral resident wrote to me and told me that her husband, who works for British Gas, is going through this at the moment: she described his situation as being ‘held to ransom’.
"It really is shameful that hardworking people are being treated in this way.
"The government must these outlaw fire and rehire tactics."