Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 17th June 2021.

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Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to prevent the use of fire and rehire practices in the food production and processing sector.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

This Government has been clear that we expect employers to treat their employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Using threats about firing and rehiring as a negotiation tactic is unacceptable. We expect employers and employees to negotiate new terms and conditions and there are laws around how this must be done, and legal protections in place when firms are considering redundancies.

We asked Acas to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise to improve our evidence base. We welcome Acas’ report on this work which was published on 8 June.

The Acas report demonstrated that there are different views on whether the practice can ever be justified. For some of the organisations consulted by Acas, it is never acceptable. For others, in its most legitimate form ‘fire and rehire’ is a route for employers to avoid redundancies and business failures, after negotiations have been exhausted.

I have asked Acas to produce better, more comprehensive, clearer guidance to help employers explore all the options before considering ‘fire and rehire’ and encourage good employment relations practice.

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