The Labour Party has today thrown its backing behind the over 100 workers campaigning against fire-and-rehire at Clarks in Street.
Fire and rehire, whilst legal, is a hugely controversial practice condemned across the political spectrum. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset, recently said the tactics “shame businesses”.
Keir Starmer has previously called for fire and rehire to be outlawed. During the pandemic, The TUC calculated one in 10 workers (three million people) were threatened with the sack unless they accepted changes to their pay or conditions.
Roy Rickhuss CBE, General Secretary of the trade union Community representing the workers, says:
“We are delighted to have Barry Gardiner join us today, and to have the full backing of the Labour Party as we continue to fight against fire-and-rehire at Clarks. We have been incredibly disappointed by the recent actions of Clarks, and for both their workers and their customers we strongly urge them to come back around the table and reach a solution.
Clarks is a staple brand on the British high street, with a history dating back over a century. Their customers and their workforce have frequently rewarded them with loyalty.
The workers most adversely impacted by these changes are those who have been employees for decades, sticking with the company through thick and thin, stepping up in the last year during the challenging pandemic period.
Fire-and-rehire is no way to thank your employees or your customers. We ask Clarks to call off the diminishing of terms and conditions and say that we are ready and waiting for productive discussions on how we can succeed together going forward when they are.”
Barry Gardiner MP says:
“Clarks culture of Fire and Rehire is killing worker confidence and returning us to an era of industrial relations belonging to the last century or well before. We need a modern approach to employment needs, not the blunt bat of Fire and Rehire.
Clarks is putting unimaginable stress on their loyal workers. They dread the next bill coming through the post, unable to sleep at night, wondering how to put food on the table. It is shameful.
Clarks management are threating loyal staff like digits on a spreadsheet. Bosses have lost sight of the human beings who deserve respect, dignity, and decency.”
The HR1 and S188 to begin these changes has been filed and will be followed by a 45-day consultation before staff are served notice of their terms and conditions changing. A legally mandated consultation period will now begin. Community have started the legal process for balloting members on industrial action.
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