‘Creeping culture’ of ‘fire and rehire’ across retail and distribution sectors, warns Unite

A line in the sand needs to be drawn over ‘the creeping culture’ of ‘fire and rehire’ across the retail, distribution and logistics industries, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, warned today (Thursday 18 February).

Unite said its shop stewards were reporting attempts by employers across the sectors to ‘salami slice’ pay, and terms and conditions, claiming ‘current market conditions’ for their actions.

Unite’s warning follows a ruling by the Court of Session in Edinburgh stopping Tesco from forcing some of the staff at the Livingston distribution centre onto a new contract which would result in them losing thousands of pounds in pay each year.

Unite’s shop stewards from Argos, Eddie Stobart, Co-op, Gist, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Wincanton have all expressed concern at the proliferation of ‘fire and rehire’ proposals.  

Unite national officer for road transport and logistics Adrian Jones said: “We cannot stand idly by and watch any employer in our, or any other sector, use bad laws to attack workers’ terms and conditions.

“’Fire and rehire’ is an abomination and the ability of employers to sack workers so they can remove established terms and conditions should be erased from the statute book.

“That is why our shop stewards representing our members in retail, distribution and logistics have pledged to support any workers who are facing this sustained attack on their living standards.

“Unite will not hesitate to take industrial action to oppose employers who are engaging in this creeping culture of ‘fire and rehire’.

“It should not be forgotten that our members have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and have continued to feed and clothe the nation.

“At the same time, these companies have made millions in profits, and therefore should not be using the excuse of ‘current market conditions’ to salami slice our members’ pay and terms and conditions.

“A line in the sand needs to be drawn when it comes to unscrupulous employers.”