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Latest news | Five years on, MP vows to continue fight against unpaid trial shifts

Latest news

Five years on, MP vows to continue fight against unpaid trial shifts

Stewart McDonald MP has renewed his call to the UK Government to ban unpaid work trials and has rubbished the Tories claim that 'existing legislation and enforcement are sufficiently robust'.

Half a decade ago today, the MP for Glasgow South brought a Bill to Parliament, 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, but it was talked out by the Tory Government.

Polling has shown that 65% of UK citizens believe that unpaid work trials are unfair, and a petition to the House of Commons launched a few years ago by Glasgow-based student Ellen Reynolds, who herself was made to work a free shift, gained over 10,000 signatures.

A recent employment tribunal also found the claimant was entitled to the minimum wage for all hours worked during the trial period with employment Judge D Wright stating that the “legislation does not give explicit guidance as to how long these [unpaid trial shifts] may last”.

Stewart McDonald MP said:

“I was extremely disappointed the government prevented parliament from even having a vote on the bill, but half a decade on this practice still plagues people looking for honest and decent work.

“Guidance remains too vague, and the law too grey for there to be effective action taken to fully stamp out unpaid trials. If people are going to be offered a trial period where they apply their skills in the hope of securing permanent work, then the law should clearly state that they should be paid fairly and properly. No loopholes. No grey areas.

“Parliament needs to do its job. We need to tighten legislation to end exploitative, unpaid trial shifts for workers. Five years on I’ll continue to draw attention to this grotesque working practice and campaign for it to be consigned to history.”

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