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Employers should not fire and rehire

The PDA opposes the practice of firing and rehiring employees, which is sometimes used to deny individuals their rights to redundancy and instead force them to experience cuts to their terms and conditions.

Mon 21st February 2022 The PDA

Employees are sometimes threatened with being fired and rehired under worse terms and conditions. Unreasonable employers may use this practice to force staff to accept lower wages, different hours, or other changes in working conditions.

For example, on 3 February 2022, Tesco (a member of the Company Chemists Association) lost a High Court battle when the retail workers’ trade union, Usdaw won a case to protect workers from unfair fire and rehire tactics. Tesco was trying to go back on a commitment to a group of distribution workers, learn more about the case here.

Although the trade union won this particular case, the practice of firing and rehiring, also known as dismissal and re-engagement, can still be legal in some circumstances. However, the PDA believes even if legal, the practice is both immoral and unethical.

In many other countries fire and rehire is already against the law and there is a significant campaign to outlaw it in the UK too.  It isn’t just trade unions that want to see fire and rehire banned with many politicians from across all parties, including Mayors and MPs, business leaders, and other members of the public supporting the campaign.

When launching employer guidance on fire and rehire in 2021, Susan Clews, Chief Executive of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) said that fire and rehire, “…can seriously damage working relations and has significant legal risks for organisations.”

ACAS also said that, “…the practice of fire and rehire is an extreme step that can damage staff morale, productivity, working relations and can also lead to industrial action.”

Workers may not expect a change that could result in fire and rehire to be initiated by their employer. The PDA recommends all employees to join an appropriate union so that they have support available should this happen to them.

Learn more


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