Most people in Britain are against the controversial – but legal – business practice of firing workers and then rehiring them again on worse pay and conditions than before, a poll has found.
The survey showed that 76 percent of responders believed it should be illegal, a figure that included 71 percent of those who identified themselves as Conservative voters.
Two-thirds of people who were contacted for the poll also indicated that they were less likely to buy goods or services from a company that used the practice known as ‘fire and rehire’.
British Gas has sacked hundreds of workers
London-based market research company Survation carried out the survey on behalf of the GMB union, a general trade union with around 600,000 members.
The poll comes in the wake of the sacking of hundreds of British Gas engineers, who install and repair boilers and heating systems, when they refused to sign up to new terms and conditions that cut their pay and mandated longer working hours.
After being given two weeks to reconsider, some engineers did agree to the new deal, but many have refused.
While British Gas has been in financial difficulty for some time, the fire and rehire approach has been widely criticised, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling it “unacceptable”.
Union says it’s a ‘dirty and bullying tactic’
Warren Kenny, the GMB’s Acting General Secretary, called it “a dirty, bullying tactic used by unscrupulous bosses. It has no place in the modern world of work – and the public knows it”.
The union and other organisations have now asked for a ban on the practice to be included in the pending new Employment Bill, which is scheduled to be announced in the Queen’s Speech scheduled for later today (Tuesday).
“We’ve been waiting since the Government got elected in 2019 for ministers to bring forward their promised Employment Bill, which they said would make the UK the best place in the world to work. Enough is enough,” Kenny said.
Centrica, the company that owns British Gas, said in a recent statement: “While change is difficult, reversing our decline – which has seen us lose over 3-million customers, cut over 15,000 jobs and seen profits halved over the last 10 years – is necessary.”