Banbury coffee factory is the focus of today's (Monday) launch of a parliamentary Bill to investigate use of 'Fire and Rehire' tactics

The industrial dispute at Banbury's JDE coffee factory is the focus of the launch of a parliamentary Bill to address the problem of 'fire and rehire'.

Banbury's JDE coffee factory where managers have imposed Section 188 'fire and rehire' notices on 291 staff
Banbury's JDE coffee factory where managers have imposed Section 188 'fire and rehire' notices on 291 staff

Barry Gardiner MP will attend the launch at 2pm at the Ruscote Avenue entrance to the factory today (Monday). Mr Gardiner was successful in this year’s private members ballot and will introduce a bill to address the national problem of Fire and Rehire. Thousands of workers across the country region have been fired and then rehired on worse pay and conditions for the same job.

Sainsburys, Argos, British Airways, Tesco’s are all trying to cut costs by using the tactic, he says. Over 100 MPs from all parties, trade unions and experts have already backed his bill.

Mr Gardiner said “People on all sides want this practice controlled by better legislation. We must work together and stop this immoral practice. I will be criss-crossing the country to meet those under threat and call on all decent employers to do the right thing.”

Previously, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP said “Employers threating to fire and rehire someone as a negotiating tactic are doing something that is wrong and decent employers do not do.”

Unite union leader Len McCluskey said there is a “...creeping culture of fire and rehire sweeping the country."

The launch went live yesterday (Sunday) and a dedicated site says: "Unreasonable employers use this tactic to force staff to accept lower wages, different hours or changes in working life. In many other countries this is often against the law.

"On Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Barry Gardiner's Private Member's Bill will be introduced in Parliament to outlaw this practice in the UK. We need your help and support.

"Fire and rehire has existed for years, but never like now. Today thousands of workers across the country are affected in all industries, large and small. Workers at Heathrow Airport, British Airways and Centrica have all been threatened.

"In Banbury, Jacobs Douwe Egberts staff are in dispute with employers who want to cut wages and conditions. In Loughborough workers are facing reductions of up to £15,000 a year, whilst at Weetabix over 70 engineers are also being targeted with Fire and Rehire on vastly inferior conditions.

"One national retailer is telling workers they must make bigger pension contributions and lose four days’ holiday a year. But it does not end there, the employers are also trying to lower death-in-service payments, reduce car allowances and cut other benefits. All this hits families hard."

Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) says it needs to redraw contracts of production to 'reset' manufacturing in Banbury to make the coffee production plant more competitive. A JDE UK spokesperson said: “We are aware of a campaign being launched today.”

The 291 staff affected, known as the Banbury 300, have held a number of one-day strikes as well as a three-day strike and an overtime ban in in force.