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Government cracks down on ‘fire and rehire’ practices

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PLANS for a new statutory code will crack down on unscrupulous employers that use controversial dismissal tactics.

Courts to be given power to apply a 25% uplift to an employee’s compensation in certain circumstances if an employer doesn’t follow the new Code.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps: “Our new code will crack down on firms mistreating employees and set out how they should behave when changing an employee’s contract.”
The Government is taking strong action against unscrupulous employers that use the controversial practice of ‘fire and rehire’, it has announced today (Tuesday 24 January).

Last year P&O Ferries deliberately sought to evade the law by sacking 786 seafarers without due consultation. Having made no efforts to inform the Business Secretary at the time, they failed to follow best practice or do the right for their employees. As a result, Grant Shapps, as Transport Secretary at the time, introduced a nine-point plan including primary legislation to tackle these issues.

Through a planned statutory code of practice, the Government is protecting employees and cracking down on employers that use controversial dismissal tactics. The code, subject to a consultation first, will make it explicitly clear to employers that they must not use threats of dismissal to pressurise employees into accepting new terms, and that they should have honest and open-minded discussions with their employees and representatives.

‘Fire and rehire’ refers to when an employer fires an employee and offers them a new contract on new, often less-favourable terms. The government has been clear on its opposition to this practice being used as a negotiating tactic and is now making it clear how it expects employers to behave.

This new statutory code of practice will set out employers’ responsibilities when seeking to change contractual terms and conditions of employment, including that businesses must consult with employees in a fair and transparent way when proposing changes to their employment terms.

Once in force, Courts and Employment Tribunals will be able to take the code into account when considering relevant cases, including unfair dismissal. They will have the power to apply a 25% uplift to an employee’s compensation in certain circumstances if an employer is found to not comply with the statutory code.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Using fire and rehire as a negotiation tactic is a quick-fire way to damage your reputation as a business. Our new code will crack down on firms mistreating employees and set out how they should behave when changing an employee’s contract.

“We are determined to do all we can to protect and enhance workers’ rights across the country.”

Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “We remain committed to protecting seafarers and championing the importance of their welfare. This new code goes one step further to doing just that, helping us ensure employees are treated fairly and employers hold meaningful consultations on any proposed changes to employment terms.

“This forms part of our nine-point plan to reform and improve seafarer welfare and close down any legal loopholes that allow employers to avoid paying them – irrespective of flag or nationality.”

Employers should be deterred from using this controversial tactic and must ensure they do not mistreat employees. If they do, they risk poor relations with their employees, and will open themselves up to the risk of legal claims.

The Government asked the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service to produce guidance for employers, which was published in 2021. This new Code of Practice shows the Government is going a step further to protect workers across the country, while balancing that with the flexibility that businesses require

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Business

St David’s Day boost: Pembs creamery launches new Welsh milk price

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PEMBROKESHIRE CREAMERY, which is set to begin production this spring, has used St Davids’ Day to launch its new milk price for Welsh milk.

Using the industry-recognised Liquid Standard Litre the company has announced an April milk price of 38.5 pence per litre.

Pembrokeshire Creamery will be the only liquid milk bottling facility in Wales certified to supply Welsh supermarkets. Ultimately this will be local Welsh milk, produced, processed and distributed from this new development.

Eliminating the need for transporting milk to England for processing, Pembrokeshire Creamery significantly reduces food miles, streamlines the supply chain, creates new skilled jobs in Pembrokeshire, and bolsters local farming communities. This efficiency enables Pembrokeshire Creamery to offer producers who have already committed, and those following the project as it develops, a competitive milk price from April 2024.

Mark McQuade, managing director, Pembrokeshire Creamery said: “It seemed fitting, on St David’s Day, to launch an April milk price for Welsh milk which we hope will be sufficiently competitive to attract farmers from across the region to consider us as a potential customer.

“We will be the only BRC Certified facility to offer Welsh milk that is also bottled in Wales enabling us to offer an authentically Welsh milk supply for Welsh supermarket stores.

“This unique selling point gives Pembrokeshire Creamery, and the farmers who work with us, a strong point of difference in meeting the needs of both retailers and consumers who increasingly value locally-sourced produce,” he said.

The development of Pembrokeshire Creamery has been supported by the Welsh Government and the EU RDP-funded Food Business Investment Scheme. Additional funding has been supplied by HSBC.

(Cover Image: Mark Sinclair)

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Business

Indian baker inspired to make Welsh cakes in Mumbai

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A BAKER based in India has been impressing locals after trying her hand at Welsh cakes, finding inspiration in an old family recipe.

Desiree Bradford, who runs the Goodie Bag Co based in Mumbai, has enjoyed baking the much-loved Welsh treats, despite having no idea what they were supposed to taste like beforehand.

Born and raised in Mumbai, she was given an old family recipe by Mitchell Theaker, a Welsh native who recently moved to the country as the Welsh Government’s head of India.

Desiree said: “It definitely made me nervous; trying to recreate something that Mitch has had since childhood, it was a big ask.

“Also, I had no idea what it actually tastes like. I did enjoy the process – learning about it – that it was meant to be a hardy food for the miners, who carried them in their pockets.

“Mitch was very encouraging with his feedback and after a few trials – I hope I can do some justice to the Welsh cakes.”

She’s also created a fusion to celebrate the coming together of the two nations, in addition to the original recipe – an Indian-inspired rose, cardamom and pistachio flavour.

St David’s Day is being celebrated in Mumbai as the Welsh Government announces that 2024 is the year of Wales in India.

Year-long celebrations will bring the two nations together through a series of events, stories and activities which celebrate the two nations of culture and innovation.  

Food is playing a key part in the celebrations – both throughout the year and at the St David’s Day events.

Alongside showcasing popular brands, such as Penderyn whisky and Calon Wen cheese to a global market, Desiree made more than 1,000 Welsh cakes ready for the St David’s Day celebrations in Mumbai.

Desiree, who also loves to ride motorcycles in her spare time, wasn’t actually sure what the cakes were supposed to taste like. She said: “The first time I made Welsh cakes, I could not gauge if it was supposed to taste like a cookie or a pancake or a scone.

“I had to watch lots of videos on dos and don’ts, it does take some time to understand just how much to cook it, so it doesn’t get dry.

“Since then I have been enjoying the Welsh cakes – especially when they are straight off the pan.”

The recipe came from Mitchell’s grandmother, who was from Ynyshir, and he believes she probably got the recipe from her mother.

Mitchell said: “My grandmother lived in Ynyshir, Rhondda all her life.

“Seeing her Welsh cake recipe, being baked in Mumbai with such love for our Saint David’s Day events, well, it’s really touching.

“To us it’s more than just a set of instructions; it’s a piece of our family’s heart and history that Desiree has honoured so beautifully.

“The timeless appeal of genuine, traditional, home-cooked goodness. It’s a beautiful bridge between our two countries.”

Baking Welsh cakes has even inspired her to learn more about our nation, and even attempt to try more Welsh classics.

“I honestly can’t say that I know much about Wales, but I am definitely inspired to visit and curious to try some other Welsh favourites like the Bara Brith.”

For the latest news and updates on Wales in India, follow @WalesInIndia on twitter and Wales in India on LinkedIn.

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Business

Funds raised for Air Ambulance at glamorous Lord Nelson Hotel event

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THE LORD NELSON HOTEL in Milford Haven became the venue of a significant charitable event last October, culminating in a grand gesture of support for the Welsh Air Ambulance Service.

The event raised the substantial sum of £5200, a testament to the collective effort of the local community and attendees of the Black Tie Fundraiser.

This commendable act of philanthropy was inspired by the remarkable story of Sean Luby, a dedicated paramedic who experienced a grave accident in January 2023 while en route to his life-saving duties.

The incident underscored the critical role of the Welsh Air Ambulance Service in providing immediate and expert care in times of dire need.

Sean’s recovery and continued service highlight the indispensable value of the air ambulance team, not only to him but to countless others across Wales whose lives have been touched by the lifesaving charity.

The fundraiser, which drew widespread support from the community, was not just an evening of elegance but a gathering with a noble purpose.

It celebrated the resilience of the human spirit and the profound impact of collective action in supporting essential services that safeguard the community’s well-being.

Organisers and participants alike have expressed their heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to making the event a success.

The funds raised will significantly aid the Welsh Air Ambulance in continuing its life-saving missions, ensuring that they remain ready and equipped to respond to emergencies across the region.

The story of Sean Luby and the overwhelming response to the fundraiser serve as powerful reminders of the difference a community can make when united for a worthy cause.

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