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The UK Government must ban the exploitative practice of firms seeking to fire and then rehire staff on significantly reduced contract terms.

I am supporting British Gas workers’ ongoing strike in protest at the threat of being fired and rehired on reduced terms and conditions in the middle of a global pandemic and recession. Click here to find out more about the strike.

Against a backdrop of widespread concern at the use of the practice by companies such as Centrica, British Airways, Heathrow Airport, and Go NorthWest over recent months, thousands of British Gas/Centrica workers have been told they have until 25th March to accept cuts to their terms and conditions, or risk losing their jobs.

SNP MP Gavin Newlands has led the charge at Westminster to make fire and rehire tactics illegal through two Bills submitted to Parliament. It has received the backing of cross-party MPs and unions, however the UK Government has so far refused to back the Bills.

The current strike by British Gas workers could have been prevented months ago if the UK Government had adopted my colleague’s Bill banning fire and rehire tactics. Beyond the warm words for workers, there has been no action from the Prime Minister to actually protect them from this exploitative practice.

At a time when households have been pushed into hardship and many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, punishing workers by threatening them with the sack unless they accept reduced contract terms and working conditions is unacceptable. I’ve heard from several local employees of British Gas who have been told they have until this week to sign up for wage cuts or face the sack. It is absolutely critical that Boris Johnson’s Government steps up and acts now.

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