A BID to give the Scottish Parliament powers over employment laws will go before the Commons today.

The Devolution (Employment) (Scotland) Bill by the SNP's Gavin Newlands aims to amend the Scotland Act and pass powers over work, industrial relations and health and safety to Holyrood.

It will receive its second reading in the House of Commons today.

Newlands, who represents Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has been campaigning on the issue of fire and rehire, in which workers are threatened with the loss of their jobs unless they agree to lower pay and conditions. The issue has come up several times through the pandemic and involved companies including British Airways, British Gas and Tesco, all of whom have defended their records as employers.

While the practice has been condemned by Boris Johnson and other ministers, the loophole that allows it remains open.

Newlands says giving Scottish ministers the chance to legislate on these matters would give greater protections to Scots workers.

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In June, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison asked Scottish party leaders to back her call to Westminster for the transfer of these powers, saying: "Employment powers would allow us to make the policy changes needed to support people and their families and deliver upon our shared ambition for a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland."

However, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he "would be embarrassed" to have written the letter, telling Robison: "Instead of demanding something else to distract from your failure, I suggest you at least try to use the powers you already have first."

Labour accused her of trying to "pick a predictable political fight" and Willie Rennie of the LibDems said it was "pathetically ­predictable that the SNP use the issue of poverty to advance their constitutional arguments".

Ahead of the second reading, Newlands said: "The pandemic has highlighted the UK's lack of willingness to protect workers' rights. Whether it’s the despicable actions of major corporations using fire and rehire tactics or the disgracefully low rates of statutory sick pay, there can be no doubt that the UK Government is failing workers' across the UK."

He went on: "The SNP Scottish Government would stop fire and rehire and increase workers' rights across the board just like many countries across Europe. That is why my bill is so important and why Scotland needs full powers over employment laws."