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18 March 2022

The fire-and-rehire policy used by P&O jeopardises millions of British jobs

Policies that enforce insecure work have become more widespread since the pandemic.

By Ben Walker

Fire and rehire – the process by which employers present workers with a choice between worse working conditions or the sack – has been criticised widely.

Research from the think tank BritainThinks for the TUC exposes how widespread it really is, and has been since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

Nearly one in ten (9 per cent) workers report having been told to reapply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions than what they began in, or face the sack.


Behind the headlines, the number for young people is even higher. Eighteen per cent of those aged 18 to 24 report experiencing fire-and-rehire tactics.

Black and minority ethnic people are also disproportionately subjected to insecure work, with 15 per cent of respondents from this group reporting fire-and-rehire conditions.

The TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has called on the Prime Minister to take action: “fire-and-rehire tactics have no place in modern Britain and must be outlawed,” she said. “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.”

[See also: P&O proves Brexit has failed on its own terms]

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