Scottish MP puts forward Bill to stop BA’s Fire and Rehire plans

British Airways Boeing 747-400 showing the Oneworld logo at Cardiff Airport, All BA 747s have now been retired. (Image: UK Aviation Media)
British Airways Boeing 747-400 showing the Oneworld logo at Cardiff Airport, All BA 747s have now been retired. (Image: UK Aviation Media)

Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Gavin Newlands is bringing forward an emergency bill to the House of Commons which, if passed, will prevent companies from dismissing staff and rehiring them on contracts with worse terms.

The Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill is in response to companies like British Airways who plan to fire its entire workforce of 42,000 and reemploy 30,000 of them onto new contracts with lower pay and diminished terms and conditions dubbed “Fire and Rehire”.

“I have just lodged my Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill in the House of Commons. The behaviour of companies like BA – and many more – in using the threat of sackings to force workers onto less well-paid jobs with lower terms and conditions. This kind of Victorian working practice should be illegal – but isn’t.

The fact that members of every party sitting in the House of Commons have co-sponsored the Bill shows the depth of feeling about the way in which companies like BA have behaved.

Given the nature of the UK Parliament and the fact that the Government would have to get behind it, I’m realistic about the chances of my Bill becoming law. Particularly when you consider Boris Johnson’s hostility to workers’ rights, but I hope it at least highlights these shocking work practices.

At a time when our communities have pulled together and made real sacrifices to help beat coronavirus, treating loyal and hard-working staff like this is simply not on.

No-one disputes that change is coming due to the international health emergency we’re in, but there’s a way to manage that change to minimise the impact on workers and their families across the country. It’s very clear that Willie Walsh and BA haven’t given that a single minute’s thought, and are instead hell-bent on tearing up livelihoods and working standards.

Gavin Newlands MP (SNP)
Gavin Newlands in the House of Commons
Gavin Newlands in the House of Commons

The bill had its first reading in the House of Commons yesterday but was not debated, it will now go forward to its second reading on a date yet to be announced.

The proposed bill has not yet been published but the summary says “A Bill to prohibit employers dismissing employees and subsequently re-employing them for the purpose of diminishing the terms and conditions of employment; and for connected purposes.”

If the bill passes through the House of Commons it would then progress to the House of Lords and if passed, onto Royal Assent and becoming law.

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About Nick Harding 1960 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.