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Webinar | Fire & Re-Hire: USDAW & others v Tesco Stores Limited


Fire & Re-Hire: USDAW & others v Tesco Stores Limited – Wednesday 9 February at 5pm

Since time immemorial, the traditional view has been that an employer’s ultimate trump card, when seeking to dispense with employees’ terms and conditions it no longer wishes to be bound by, is to “fire and re-hire”, replacing the “old” contract with a “new” contract, which is identical, save that it omits the “offending” terms.

The High Court judgment in USDAW & others v Tesco Stores Limited QB-2021-000988 provides a significant development in the law concerning the controversial practice of “fire and re-hire”, demonstrating that recourse to the law of implied terms can provide protection, at least where “permanent” benefits are concerned. In this case, the High Court granted both declaratory and final injunctive relief restraining Tesco from seeking to fire and re-hire the employee claimants.

This issue has never been more topical. In recent parliamentary debates it has been suggested that employers have increasingly turned to the device of “fire and re-hire” during COVID, it being reported that as many as 25% of large employers have attempted to effectively downgrade terms and conditions during the pandemic.

In this webinar, Paul Gilroy QC, who appeared for the successful union in this case, and Bláthnaid Breslin, consider the implications of this important judgment.

Topics covered will include the following:

  • The conventional view.
  • The failed attempt to introduce legislation.
  • USDAW v Tesco: the facts.
  • Construction and formulation of an implied term.
  • Developing and extending the PHI benefits line of authority.
  • Avoiding the “Johnson exclusion zone” (Johnson v Unisys [2001] 2 WLR 1076, HL).
  • The High Court’s core reasoning.
  • The Tesco takeaway. 
  • To what extent does USDAW v Tesco turn on its own facts?
  • Tactics in collective bargaining and negotiation.
  • What now for the SOSR defence to a claim of unfair dismissal in “fire and re-hire” cases?

Join us for this webinar on Wednesday 9 February at 5pm – please email to register.

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