Cllr Danny Myers
Cllr Danny Myers

Labour councillors on City of York Council have initiated a council debate on the practice of fire and rehire, which it is believed has impacted as many as 10% of all workers nationally.

The issue has been brought into sharp focus with the confectioner, Valeo, threatening to instigate the practice against its workers on its Low Poppleton Lane site in York.

Cllr Danny Myers will propose a Labour motion at a meeting of all York councillors later this week.  He says:

“The disgraceful conduct of P&O in recent days has demonstrated a new low amongst major corporate interests in our country, but the conduct of Valeo here in York is not much better.

“We have around 200 hard-working, dedicated employees whose loyalty and ability to generate profit for Valeo has been met with a huge slap in the face.  These are people working hard to provide for their families, and who spend their money in the York economy”. 

“The company has offered a below inflation pay offer, a reduction in annual leave and employees have raised concerns about health and safety breaches at the factory. Valeo has forced its workers into signing inferior new contracts to replace their old ones, calling the process ‘modernisation’. The company specifically stated that it would retain the option to ‘dismiss and re-engage colleagues on a new contract’; this is ‘fire and rehire’ by another name, a pernicious practice that must not be allowed in workplaces and York must lead the way now, to protect our residents’ livelihoods and their rights at work.

“We’re supporting the GMB and the workers taking industrial action through this dispute. Industrial action is the last option for many workers, but it is needed when the company will not listen to the genuine concerns of their own workforce. I’d urge everyone to sign the petition to support the Valeo workers.”

Cllr Myers’ motion draws attention to the Prime Minister’s remarks around fire and rehire being ‘unacceptable’, contrasting them with the absence of any Government action to stop it happening.

Fire and rehire has become more and more prevalent in recent years, according to the TUC, as businesses take advantage of weakened employment protections introduced by Conservatives in Government over many years.

Fellow Clifton Ward Cllr Margaret Wells will second the motion. She says:

We want to support and encourage businesses that not only recognise trade unions, but which have good employment, equalities and environmental records too. That means we need to work to encourage businesses like Valeo to value their employees and recognise the vital contributions that they make”.

Labour’s motion also draws attention to the Good Business Charter, which City of York Council signed up to last summer, as a model that all major businesses should be invited to adopt.

Among many other components, the Charter prioritises fairer hours and contracts, and proper representation of employees.  Labour is calling on the council to ensure these principles extend to the organisations it does business with.

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