A TUC survey shows significant numbers of workers, particularly younger, BME and working class workers, have been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms since the Covid pandemic began.
Nearly one in 10 workers have been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since the first lockdown in March, according to a TUC survey.
The survey finds that BME and young workers and working-class people have been disproportionately affected. Nearly a fifth of (18%) of 18-24 year-olds say their employer has tried to re-hire them on inferior terms during the pandemic.
Working-class people (12%) are nearly twice as likely than those from higher socio-economic groups (7%) to have been told to re-apply for their jobs under worse terms and conditions.
BME workers (15%) have been faced with “fire and rehire” at nearly twice the rate of white workers (8%).
The TUC says “fire and re-hire” tactics are being used across a range of industries. Members of the GMB union are currently taking strike action against British Gas after the company ordered staff to accept inferior contracts. And Unite are taking industrial action against British Airways over the airline’s decision to “fire and rehire” its cargo division’s workforce on inferior pay and conditions.
The polling also reveals that nearly a quarter (24%) of workers in Britain have experienced a downgrading of their terms during the crisis – including through reduced pay or changes to their hours.
One in three (34%) young workers (18-24 year-olds) say their terms at work have deteriorated since March. And a nearly a third (30%) of low-paid workers (those earning up to £15,000) report the same.
Around two-fifths (38%) of workers say they are worried about job security in the year ahead.
The TUC adds that any move to water down EU-derived protections on safe working hours, rest-breaks would be a betrayal of the Government’s levelling up promise.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at work. Forcing people to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions is plain wrong.
“Fire and re-hire tactics have no place in modern Britain and must be outlawed.
“Boris Johnson promised to make the UK the best place in the world to work in. It’s high time he delivered on this promise.
“That means fast-tracking his much-delayed employment bill. And it means abandoning any attempt to water down hard-won workers’ rights from the EU.”