Barry Town Council Facing Strike Action over Fire and Rehire Threat, warn GMB Union

GMB union warns council using ‘unscrupulous practice’ public believes should be banned 

GMB Union, the union for council staff, has warned Barry Town council they face strike action after they issued a ‘fire and rehire’ notice to staff.

The local authority for Wales’ largest town has served notice to six cemetery workers imposing a unilateral change to terms and conditions of employment, without their consent.

Fire and Rehire is a practice that sees an employer forcing an employee to accept changes to their contract or be fired and rehired on worse terms and conditions.

GMB recently fought a high-profile dispute when British Gas used the practice which saw hundreds of workers leave the company,[1] and sales fall 15%. [2]

The union had been consultation with ACAS and the Barry Town Council clerk Emily Forbes on proposed changes to the terms and conditions of employment for Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery workers.

However, Barry Town Council has rejected all the union’s representations and withdrew from talks whilst issuing notice to cemetery workers of a unilateral change to terms and conditions of employment.

The fire rehire practice is widely unpopular, with a recent poll showing three quarters of British people believing it should be banned. [3]

Nicola Savage, GMB Regional Organiser said: 

“This practice is unscrupulous, unpopular and unwarranted.

“Barry Town Council think they can run roughshod over its staff; they can’t. Members should have no fear that we will stand up and protect them.

“The damage is done, members from across the council feel betrayed and we’re balloting our members now on whether to take strike action.

“The council should stop digging a hole and come back to the table immediately, or this could escalate into strike action.”  




Image credit: Cath Mudford – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,