Trade Unions

We can defeat fire-and-rehire!

11 July 2021

On 18 June, around 60 members of the teaching union NASUWT at the 33k-a-year Loughborough Grammar School went on strike against fire-and-rehire. They join over 300 workers at the Jacob Douwe Egberts plant in Banbury who have been on strike against similar plans to fire workers and rehire them on significantly reduced terms and conditions.

NASUWT members at the school have taken action less than six weeks after Unite members at Go North West successfully defeated fire-and-rehire, following an 80-day strike at the bus company. It is also less than a fortnight after workers at the property services company Goodlord in East London also defeated fire-and-rehire.

The victories at Go North West and Goodlord are not, however, without qualification. At Go North West, fire-and-rehire has been defeated, but not without workers taking significant pay cuts. Similarly, at Goodlord, workers dismissed for taking industrial action have been reinstated, but Unite officials agreed to keep silent in return.

As right-wing talking heads obsess over a supposed Corbyn photobomb, workers across the country are taking action to save their livelihoods. Barry Gardiner’s proposed bill, which if successful will outlaw fire-and-rehire, is welcome. But only through mass action, coordinated on a national scale and led by rank-and-file militants, can we defeat fire-and-rehire without the trade-offs.

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