SNP MP Stewart McDonald, whose previous bid to ban unpaid work trials failed, has called on the UK government to take notice of public opposition to unpaid trial shifts and take action to ban the exploitative practice.
Tuesday this week (16.3.21) marked three years since the Glasgow South MP's Bill, which sought to end the practice of employers asking job applicants to work for hours, days, or even weeks without any payment or guarantee of a job at the end of it, was talked out by the Tory Government.
The UK government has repeatedly refused to back the Bill and rejected calls to bring forward its own legislation to strengthen workers' rights and to ban the practice.
However, a recent petition to the House of Commons launched last summer by Glasgow based student, Ellen Reynolds, who completed a five-hour shift without pay, gained over 10,000 signatures before its deadline last Sunday (14.3.21), meaning the UK Government will have to issue a response.
It is estimated that unpaid work trial shifts contribute to an estimated £3 billion in lost wages in the UK every year.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald MP said:
"Many people will have been pushed into a position through no fault of their own into accepting unpaid work trials - with some employers asking applicants to work for hours, days, or even weeks without any payment or guarantee of a job at the end of it.
""Despite repeatedly refusing to back my Bill to ban the practice, it is clear from the petition that there is still appetite amongst the public to ban these immoral unpaid trial shifts.
"Now that the UK Government have been forced into giving a response, I hope they will see the extent of feeling against exploitative unpaid shifts and consider a ban on unpaid work trials.
"I am still of the view that we need to tighten current legislation, and I urge the UK government to heed the warnings and do the right thing before more people are exploited through unpaid work trials
"If Westminster refuses to act, then it must devolve the powers to the Scottish Parliament so the SNP Government can get on with the job to end this unjust practice."