Agenda item

Agenda item

End Fire and Rehire (proposer Cllr Mundy, seconder Cllr Dunne)

Labour Group member motion

The practice of Fire and Rehire, which can also be referred to as dismissal and reengagement, has come to public attention in recent years. This involves an employer dismissing staff and reoffering their roles under inferior conditions, usually to effectively change the contract of employment. The currently legal practice has been increasingly threatened by employers. The prevalence and impact of Fire and Rehire has been researched by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) [1]. Though not new, there is suggestion that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an increase in its use. Others have told Acas that the pandemic is being used “opportunistically as a smokescreen to diminish workers’ terms and conditions”. This has impacted a range of employees, many of whom have been key workers such as factory, utilities, and retail workers. These are people who have kept working and kept our country going during the pandemic and lockdowns.

According to TUC research [2] nearly 1 in 10 workers have been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions or face the sack. Working-class people (12%) are nearly twice as likely as those from higher socio-economic groups (7%) to face Fire and Rehire. For black and ethnic minority workers (15%) the rate is nearly twice the rate of white workers (8%).

Here, and across the country, Fire and Rehire is increasing the precariousness of work and financially and mentally compromising people who work hard to put food on the table and pay their bills. It is shackling our trade unions and making it impossible for them to fight for a fair deal for their members.

According to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), our city’s own newspapers The Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times threated to Fire and Rehire NUJ members over bank holiday pay. In August the NUJ agreed a deal to end the dispute, but they could not get Fire and Rehire taken off the table in negotiations with the newspapers’ owners Newsquest Media Group. [3]

In Oxfordshire, workers at the Jacob Douwe Egberts coffee factory in Banbury were threatened with Fire and Rehire earlier this year. The profitable factory succeeded in settling an agreement with Unite the Union in August. [4]

Oxford City Council resolves:

·         To publicly oppose any future use or threat of Fire and Rehire by employers in our City.

·         For the review of future contracts, contract renewals and procurement to seek to include a commitment for employers to not use or threaten Fire and Rehire, as part of their social clause.

·         For our City Council Leader to add her voice to that of our MPs Anneliese Dodds and Layla Moran in supporting new national legislation to ban Fire and Rehire.

·         For our City Council Leader to write to Business Secretary Kwarsi Kwarteng, urging him to support Barry Gardiner’s End Fire and Rehire Private Members Bill [5] and back the workers of our country.



2  “Fire and rehire” tactics have become widespread during pandemic – warns TUC January 2021



5 Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill



This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.