Doncaster councillors clash on motion to end the employment practice of ‘fire and rehire’

Doncaster councillors clashed on a motion to stop the practice of businesses firing then rehiring workers on worse pay and conditions.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 6:24 pm
Councillors Glen Bluff and Nigel Ball clashed over a 'fire and hire' motion

The motion, which only has symbolic weight, was brought forward by Bentley Labour councillor James Church, who said the practice needed to be stopped.

The motion outlined that 1 in 10 workers have experienced ‘fire and rehire’ and have been told to reapply for their jobs on worse pay, terms or conditions or face the sack with Black, Minority Ethnic workers facing this at twice the rate of white workers, according to the Trades Union Council.

Since March 2020, the TUC also said a quarter of all workers have experienced a worsening of their terms and conditions since the pandemic began.

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Coun Gemma Cobby, who seconded the motion, said the practice of sacking workers and rehiring them on poorer pay and conditions has been banned in Ireland, France and Spain.

Coun Church said: “This is not a controversial motion, this is about prioritising job security for working people across Doncaster, from public to private sectors and promoting good practice of local employers and helping towards a vibrant, local economy.

But Conservative councillor for Sprotbrough, Glen Bluff, took issue with the motion and offered an amendment.

He said: “I found bullet point number two very personal and emotive against the government and the Prime Minister.

“Once again we’re acting as Doncaster is an annexed mouthpiece of the Labour party at national level. Bullet point seven amounts to a mouthpiece for the trade unions and I thought this Labour party had moved on that.”

In respond to Conservative Coun Bluff, Labour Coun Nigel Ball added: “This practice needs finishing straight away and it’s already been put forward to you that it’s the government that needs to do it.

“They need to take steps to deal with it and the TUC will act as a pressure group to do that – and rightly so as well.”

Conservative group leader Coun Jane Cox welcomed the motion put forward by the two Labour councillors but said the council executive had handed over services such as the running of the town’s markets and care homes to private firms in the past who sacked council workers to rehire them on poorer conditions.

The amendment put forward by Coun Bluff did not pass but the opposition Tory group did vote in favour of the original motion bar one abstention.