Socialist Worker

Build united fightback to stop fire and rehire

Issue No. 2754

Members of the GMB union have been fighting against fire and rehire

Members of the GMB union have been fighting against fire and rehire. (Pic: Nick Efford/Flickr)


Three quarters of people in Britain want bosses’ outrageous fire and rehire tactics scrapped. A poll conducted by Survation on behalf of the GMB union discovered that 76 percent of people believe the practice should be outlawed.

Workers have been fighting back against these tactics that sack the workforce and rehire them of vastly inferior contracts.

There’s been an escalation in companies prepared to use the process. One example is Jacobs Douwe Egberts coffee plant in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

A deadline is approaching for those workers to accept cuts of up to £7,000 a year or lose their jobs.

It’s no idle threat. Big attacks on pay and conditions were rammed through at British Gas recently.

Unions demand laws that ban fire and rehire, and that would be a real gain. But it’s very unlikely that MPs will back such moves without much pressure.

A strategy to stop fire and rehire has to be built on winning the disputes where it emerges.

It must be a collective fight. The whole trade union movement should offer solidarity to affected workers. Scottish further education lecturers stopped fire and rehire by escalating action.

We don’t need more failures seen at British Gas. And nor do we need proclamations that fire and rehire has gone only to discover that the threatened attacks have largely gone through by a deal.

We need to build a large and united fightback.


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