- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
MIKE HEDGES QUESTIONS FIRST MINISTER ON FIRE AND REHIRE PRACTICES BY EMPLOYERS IN WALES
Speaking from his office in Morriston, Local MS Mike Hedges said…. The practice of firing and rehiring staff with worse pay and conditions is an odious practice and should be condemned. The welsh government should used all the tools at its disposal to combat this practice. I welcome the First Ministers condemnation of the practice, but it would have been better if he had committed the Welsh Government to using its muscle in terms of procurement and offering financial support to business in order to prevent companies using ‘fire and rehire’ policies from gaining support from the Welsh Government.
Like the First Minister, I await action from the UK Government; words must be accompanied by action to stop this practice immediately.’
- What assessment has the First Minister made of the use of fire-and-rehire practices by employers in Wales? OQ56530
First Minister of Wales
I thank Mike Hedges for that question, Llywydd. Fire-and-rehire practices have been deployed by some employers in Wales. However few these instances may be, I share the view of the Prime Minister that they are unacceptable. The UK Government now needs to act to put these practices beyond the law.12
Can I agree with what the First Minister has just said and thank him for his response? But the question is: what can the Welsh Government do to discourage fire and rehire? Can they use their procurement policy, can they use their financial support for businesses, to discourage this practice, which unfortunately has grown in recent years?13
First Minister of Wales
Well, Llywydd, Mike Hedges is right that the practice has grown in recent years. Evidence published by the TUC in January of this year said that nearly one in 10 workers had been told to reapply for their jobs on worse terms or face the sack. And further research, published in April of this year, found that 70 per cent of companies deploying these tactics were profit-making companies. They weren’t companies driven to it as a last resort because of the pandemic; they were making profits, and healthy profits too—the supermarket Tesco, to mention just one company, who have done very well during the last 12 months and still deploying these tactics. Fifty per cent of those companies had claimed support from the UK Government during the pandemic. Now, we can use our economic contract, as Mike Hedges suggested, we can use our social partnership arrangements, we can work through the trade unions and those in Parliament to put pressure on the UK Government to take the legislative action they have promised.14
In 2019, Llywydd, in the Queen’s Speech, the UK Government promised an employment Bill. The Prime Minister described it as the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation, and yet that Bill has never been published. Now, if the Prime Minister is serious that fire-and-rehire practices are unacceptable, if, as Jacob Rees-Mogg says, companies should know better, if, as the Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng says,15
‘we have been very clear that this practice is unacceptable’16
and the Minister responsible17
‘has condemned the practice in the strongest terms on many occasions in this House’,18
then we need the UK Government to act on that basis. Now, I’m told that, this afternoon in the House of Commons, the Minister will make a statement and will publish the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s review of fire-and-rehire practices that the UK Government commissioned. It is good news that we will be able to see the product of that work. I hope that it will then lead to legislative action, which only the UK Government can take forward, to make sure that this practice, as I said, is put beyond the law.