NICOLA Sturgeon has said she would ban “fire-and-rehire” tomorrow if she had the power.

The First Minister called the employment practice “abhorrent” and said employers who drove down terms and conditions that way should be named and shamed.

It followed Ms Sturgeon and other leading politicians being told by a Centrica worker about her experience in an election hustings organised by the STUC.

Katrina Copland of the GMB said she and colleagues lost holiday pay and had to work longer after an effective fire-and- rehire process that she claimed had left a “mental health crisis” at British Gas. 

Ms Sturgeon said: “I would outlaw fire-and-rehire practices. 

"I would do it tomorrow, if I had the power to do it.

“But we don't, which is why the devolution of employment law is so fundamentally important.

“We need to get those powers out of the hands of Westminster and into the hands of a Scottish Parliament.

“Those kind of practices are abhorrent. We should call out employers who are trying to do things like that, but we need the power to do more than that, to actually make them illegal.” 

Tory candidate Stephen Kerr also attacked “sharp practices” such as fire-and-rehire, but said employment law should remain at Westminster.

He said: “When people are made to feel insecure, their conditions are changed unilaterally, they’re threatened with their employment, none of that is acceptable and should be called out. That is the worst sort of practice.

“But I do not believe that employment law should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. There are already many powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament that Nicola Sturgeon and her government have never got their arms around.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said if Mr Kerr thought the practices were exploitative, he should be helping to stop them practices.

He said: “Perhaps we should be uniting across the country to stop the exploitative practices of the likes of British Gas which to be frank is an utter disgrace, what they're doing with their staff, and they’re not the only company to have been through that process or attempted that process. So I do support the devolution of employment law.”