Should employers be allowed to “fire and re-hire” their employees? This is where employers who need to cut back and save costs dismiss employees who refuse to sign up to accept worse terms and conditions, such as pay cuts and longer hours. You may have read of a large group of British Gas engineers who were sacked in April for refusing to accept substantially worse terms. A May 2021 survey by the GMB Union found that 76% of people said it should be against the law. Two thirds of people suggested they would be likely to avoid buying goods or services from such an employer. ACAS finished a report on this controversial practice in February 2021, but the Government and ACAS are keeping its findings a secret.

Boris Johnson has said fire and re-hire is “unacceptable” and should only ever be a matter of last resort. It is already a high risk strategy for any employer and rarely a good idea. It would be good for job security and economic stability if fire and re-hire was clearly against the law or at least only allowed if very specific factors are met. Mr Johnson had previously promised an Employment Bill in response to concerns that workers’ rights could be eroded following Brexit and leaving EU law behind, and such a Bill would have been the obvious vehicle to include provisions on fire and re-hire. Unfortunately, the Queen’s Speech did not include the promised Employment Bill at all. The politics and economics are hard to call: a secure and stable workforce v employer freedom. There may be interesting days ahead.

At Ellisons our specialist Employment Law Solicitors are able to offer you prompt and practical advice to help you resolve the issues as quickly as possible and on the right terms. Contact the Ellisons’ specialist Employment Law Solicitors today on 01473 556900 or email us at [email protected].