Protesters outside the Queens Road Bus Depot
Protesters outside the Queens Road Bus Depot

This month there have been a number of local workplace disputes in which bosses have threatened workers with ‘fire and rehire’ tactics, bringing insecurity and misery to working people, many of whom are already low paid.

Section 188 notices are being increasingly used by big companies – including at British Airways, British Gas and Go North West Buses – to make changes to pay and terms and conditions that will have a detrimental effect for thousands of workers. However they are a nuclear option designed to hold a the axe over employees head: accept our conditions or face the sack.

After being contacted by a number of concerned constituents, I wrote to Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of Centrica, regarding his threat to ‘fire and rehire’ workers at British Gas. I asked that this threat was withdrawn, and they begin meaningful negotiations with GMB Union and give workers a fair deal. 

Myself and Blackley and Broughton MP, Graham Stringer, also wrote to Go North West (Go Ahead Group) to ask that they withdraw their S188 notice, negotiate with Unite and Unison members, and reinstate a suspended Unite rep. Employers should not be using S188 as a negotiating tool, nor should they be suspending trade union reps who are standing up for their members in the workplace.

I’m really pleased that at the online Trades Union Congress earlier this month, Labour leader Keir Starmer called for ‘fire and re-hire’ tactics to be outlawed. Keir was right to say that they punish good employers, hit working people hard and harm our economy. It’s high time these awful tactics were done away with completely. 

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