Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker.
I commend my friend and comrade, the honourable member for Brent North, on bringing forward his Private Members’ Bill which is sensible, does not ban Fire and Rehire outright, but will instantiate good practice in statute – placing an obligation on employers to consult, to be transparent, and to negotiate up front when considering restructuring. And will penalise bad practice and bullying.
As with any Bill, it is amendable at the committee, and further stages, as it passes through the legislative process.
In Asda, Tesco’s, British Gas, Heathrow, and in the public sector, we’ve witnessed Fire and Rehire practices and their devastating impact on hardworking people.
Thousands of loyal, hardworking staff have been sacked because they refused to agree to poorer terms and conditions, with cuts of up to 15% in wages.
And the use of this unconscionable tactic has increased during the pandemic – one in ten workers have faced a Fire and Rehire process.
Fire and Rehire is a fundamental failure of industrial relations, and a complete disregard of a worker’s experience, and loyalty.
And a return to archaic working practices.
We should look to Wales, where fairness and fair play are at the heart of Welsh Community values and has always shaped the relationship between employers, Trade Unions & employees.
This tradition has been firmly embedded in the Welsh Government since the very start of devolution, where partnership working has been the norm, and expressed in key policy initiatives such as the economic contract where Welsh Government funding is conditional on good employment practices.
And which culminates today in the Welsh Labour Government Social Partnership Bill which will put partnership working and decent conditions of employment on a statutory basis using Welsh Government procurement processes as an instrument to drive best practice.
Therefore Fire and Rehire is an absolute anathema in Wales, contrary to our traditions and our deeply-rooted sense of fair play and decency which are at the heart of our national character.
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has met the Honourable Member for Brent North and Mark has offered his full support for the objectives of the bill and the injustices it will root out.
In Wales we have a phrase, ‘chawrae teg’, – fair play – and everyone knows what it means whether they speak Welsh or not. This is a chance for the house to bring chwarae teg to workers across the whole of the U.K.