Boris Johnson has called the practice “unacceptable”, but ministers have also insisted that firms in financial difficulty must have the flexibility to ‘offer’ new terms and conditions. So, in the reality which we all survive, Boris Johnson’s claim of “unacceptable” is another case of dishonesty. A lie since his Tory government supports the Fire & Rehire actions of corporations which are in profit and receiving corporate benefits.
Terrorism: Origin of the word
It seems appropriate to define the term terrorism. Within terrorism lies the word terror. Terror comes from the Latin terrere, which means “frighten” or “tremble.” When coupled with the French suffix isme (referencing “to practice”), it becomes akin to “practic- ing the trembling” or “causing the frightening.” Trembling and frightening here are syn- onyms for fear, panic, and anxiety—what we would naturally call terror. The word terror is over 2,100 years old.
Analysis of financial reports by the Observer shows 9 of the 13 private employers accused over the past year of threatening to dismiss and re-engage staff on worse contracts have managed to maintain healthy profit margins, with some even increasing executive pay.
There is research showing how some firms are cynically exploiting the crisis to drive down pay and conditions.
- British Gas engineers who refused to sign up to longer hours (at same pay) under the firm’s controversial dismiss and re-engage scheme last week lost their jobs.
- British Gas reported profits of £80m in its most recent update.
- Centrica, parent company of British Gas, received £27m in corporate benefits UK government’s job retention scheme
Go Ahead Group
- Go Ahead Group reported nearly £80m in operating profit last year.
- Its regional bus services recorded £12.3m operating profit in the six months up to January, with the group attributing this partly to the government’s financial support for buses during the pandemic.
- The group also claimed up to £350,000, again via corporate benefits, under the government’s job retention scheme.
ESS which is part of Compass Group
- Affecting hundreds low-paid, outsourced caterers and cleaners working on Ministry of Defence (MOD) sites.
- Corporation bullied employees - ESS gave them no choice. They t_old them to sign on the dotted line or they would be made redundant_.
- Compass Group, which operates in 45 countries, announced a £294m profit in 2020.
- Compass Group received £437m in corporate benefits, including the furlough scheme in the UK.
Goodlord in London provides software & reference check to estate agents
- “We were given a choice to take a pay cut or become unemployed,” said Scott Hunter, who works in the firm’s referencing department.
- The reduced pay was below the London minimum living wage.
- “Goodlord like to brand themselves the nice face of a lettings industry – but they are pushing us out of our homes,” he said.
Public sector and non-profit employers also stand accused of using fire-and-rehire threats during the pandemic
- University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust
- Porters claim they were threatened with dismissal if they did not accept shift changes in February.
- “Some porters were in their 60s and 70s. They worked through the pandemic,” said Claire Breeze from Unison. “It is shocking that this dirty tactic has been used in the NHS against such loyal, hardworking staff.”
- University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust said all porters accepted the changes and no dismissals or offers of re-engagement were necessary. It’s likely they could not afford eat or heat their homes if they lost their low paid job