A new poll by the TUC has revealed that nearly one in 10 workers has been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since the first lockdown in March.  


The poll found that the picture is even bleaker for black and minority ethnic workers (BAME) as well as young workers and working-class people:


  • Nearly a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds said that their employer tried to re-hire them on inferior terms during the pandemic
  • Working-class people were nearly twice as likely compared to those from higher socio-economic groups to have been told to re-apply for their jobs under worse terms and conditions  
  • BAME workers have been faced with “fire and re-hire” at nearly twice the rate of white workers. 


The TUC says that these controversial “fire and re-hire” tactics are being used across a range of industries, including British Gas and British Airways, although unions are resisting the moves.


The polling also revealed that nearly a quarter of workers in Britain have experienced a downgrading of their terms during the crisis – including through reduced pay or changes to their hours.  


One in three 18 to 24-year-olds also reported to the TUC that their terms at work had deteriorated since March, while nearly a third of low-paid workers (those earning up to £15,000) reported the same. Around two-fifths of workers said they were worried about job security in the year ahead. 

The low-paid are also facing temporary lay-offs, according to a study by the Institute for Employment Rights (IER), which noted that some low-paid workers were being denied furlough. The report also found that they were facing cuts in their hours and being expected to work without adequate protection.

The IER report calls on the government to extend “flexible furlough” through to the autumn to provide income support for those whose work continues to be disrupted; to maintain and increase support through the social security system; to reform statutory sick pay; and to prioritise skills investment, labour market enforcement, local partnerships and employer engagement in order to support full employment and decent work in the recovery.

Read more about the TUC poll here.

Read the IES report in full here.