Thank you for writing to me about possible redundancies. I have read your email carefully, noting your views and concerns.
I am aware that there have been reports of several businesses and industry sectors considering making thousands of staff redundant. I appreciate that many businesses have been significantly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, including those operating in the hospitality, retail and transport sectors. I sympathise with anyone who is facing redundancy during the pandemic. Redundancy is never an easy process to go through, and it is important that those who have been made redundant are aware of their rights.
In October 2020, after being contacted by a number of constituents, I wrote to Centrica and shared a response that I received from Chief Executive Chris O’Shea. I was also in close touch with many local British Airways staff over many months and I made several representations to BA management and to Government about the issues that employees raised.
I am aware of the Private Members’ Bill which seeks to prevent businesses from adopting “fire and rehire” tactics and I will give the detail of this very careful consideration. The date of the Second Reading of the Bill is, however, yet to be announced.
Ultimately, terms and conditions of employment are a matter for employers and employees. Companies should behave responsibly, but there is already recourse for those who feel they have been treated unfairly. If an employee feels they have been dismissed unfairly, they should first check their rights (https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights) before they consider taking their case to an employment tribunal.
I want to reassure you that I have spoken to my ministerial colleagues to make sure they are aware of the current concerns of some employees. During this difficult time, it is only right that employers should act responsibly and therefore only use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to protect jobs.
For more information please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
I welcome that, in order to improve understanding of all these issues, the Government is closely working with Acas and encouraging a number of roundtables with businesses, employee representatives and other bodies to discuss these matters in more detail.
In addition, Ministers continue to engage with businesses and stakeholders to identify what support is available during this pandemic. This has ensured the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments in all business sectors and to understand where additional policy measures might help address specific industry concerns.
Please be assured that I will continue to monitor the situation very closely indeed.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking