Fire and rehire - is this Victorian era practice still acceptable in the 21st century?

Wrexham company's fire and re-hire tactics condemned by Llyr Gruffydd.


A Wrexham company's fire and re-hire tactics for its 1200 workers have been condemned by Llyr Gruffydd.  In a question in the Senedd recently,Llyr Gruffydd described the moves by Rowan Foods owners Oscar Mayer to fire and re-hire workers on worse working conditions that could cost an individual worker £3,000 a year. He called on the Welsh Government to act to ensure such attacks on workers’ conditions are rejected in Wales.


Mr Gruffydd made his comments in questions to Sarah Murphy, Minister for Social Partnership: “You might be aware that approximately 1,200 workers at Rowan Foods in Wrexham are facing an uncertain future due to plans by the owners, Oscar Mayer, to make workers redundant and change working conditions, and that includes an annual pay cut of £3,000.


“That's a policy of firing and rehiring on worse conditions, which obviously belongs to the Victorian age. I'm seeking a commitment now, as are the 1,200 workers and their union Unite, that this Government will do all it can to oppose such a regressive policy. So, do you agree that it's absolutely reprehensible that a company like this can on the one hand pay its chief executive £0.5 million a year and on the other hand treat its workers in this way? If you do, then what are you going to do to ensure that this firing and rehiring isn't allowed to happen?”


In response Sarah Murphy said: “Obviously I'm not in favour of fire and rehire, it's not something that, as a Welsh Labour Government, we are in favour of either. I know that sometimes they try to call it something else as well. But I myself have worked with trade unions over the years to very much push back on this, with the levers that we have at the moment in the Welsh Government.


“Obviously, where we're coming from and where I'm coming from as the Minister for Social Partnership is that we'd never want to get to a place where this is happening and is happening to workers in a way that surprises them, catches them off guard, and then leaves them high and dry but also without the support to maybe be upskilled and go on to other work. I would start by saying that is what we always endeavour to do. That is not what has been able to happen in this situation.


“I am very saddened to hear this. It is under the Cabinet Secretary for the economy. We take every hit like this and feel it as well. Ultimately, we want to make sure that this doesn't happen again going forward. But, let me say on record that, no, I do not agree with this approach, and I want to make sure that this cannot happen going forward.”

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  • Geraint Thomas
    published this page in News 2024-07-10 13:56:00 +0100

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