Scottish MP Brings Forward Emergency Bill to Prevent Employers Exploiting Pandemic

Gavin Newlands MP (pictured) has today brought forward emergency legislation before Parliament that seeks to prohibit employers dismissing workers and subsequently re-employing them with diminished terms and conditions.

The Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill, which has cross-party support, comes in response to firms – such as British Airways – that have sought to lay off and then rehire thousands of staff on significantly reduced terms due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The MP warned that the moves were “exploitative” and would push workers into hardship.

Commenting, Gavin said:

“There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a hammer blow to the economy and businesses.

“However, in dealing with the crisis, the SNP has been clear that job cuts should not be the first response.

“Households are already under financial pressure and every effort must be made to protect jobs and invest in industries.

“There is now very real concern that some firms – such as BA – are seeking to exploit the crisis by looking to dismiss and then rehire thousands of workers on significantly reduced terms and contracts.

“Such a move undermines workers’ rights and working conditions, and undermines talks in good faith on how to tackle the challenges facing the aviation industry.

“With time fast running out for thousands of workers who are being pushed into a corner and into increasing hardship, I have brought forward emergency legislation – the Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill – which has cross-party support and seeks to prohibit employers dismissing workers and subsequently re-employing them with diminished terms and conditions of employment.

“With employees facing a significant loss in income or job losses through no fault of their own, it cannot be the case that employers unfairly deliver another body blow.

“It is vital that the UK government now engages with the Bill to protect workers.

“I have already written to British Airways raising these concerns, urging them to rethink their approach and to engage with the UK government to safeguard jobs. 

“The UK government’s inaction on aviation thus far has been lamentable, however, the Chancellor has stated that he would look to work with individual airlines and British Airways must engage with him to this end, rather than ploughing ahead with its dangerous plans to rollback on contracts and working conditions.”