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Latest news | 'Laughable' Government answer to Glasgow MP on unpaid trial shifts

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'Laughable' Government answer to Glasgow MP on unpaid trial shifts

SNP MP Stewart McDonald has called on the UK Government to ban unpaid work trials and has said the Tory's claims that 'existing legislation and enforcement are sufficiently robust' is ‘laughable.’ The calls came after the UK Government refused to say if it had investigated the merits of banning unpaid work trials.

In prior parliamentary questions Mr McDonald asked the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Minister if the government had assessed the merits of bringing forward legislation to ban unpaid trials. The answer said, 'existing legislation and enforcement are sufficiently robust to ensure that no worker undertakes an exploitative unpaid work trial'.

The questions came following recent incidents where a student on an unpaid trial shift was left by a manager to look after a clothes shop with another trialist on his first day, and the case of a Glasgow student, Ellen Reynolds, who subsequently petitioned the UK Parliament to ban unpaid trial shifts.

Stewart McDonald’s previously 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 the UK government prevented the bill from going to a vote in the UK parliament.

Commenting, Stewart McDonald said:

"The UK Government's claim that current enforcement against unpaid work trials is robust enough is almost laughable if it weren't so shocking given the number of high-profile incidents recently.

"The culture of unpaid work is a scourge on society and, the UK government must show its willingness to tackle this exploitative practice.

“Whilst the Tory government went out of its way to block previous legislation, there is a clear consensus across the country that unpaid trial shifts are pernicious and plainly unfair.

"It's high time this unfair practice was brought to an end, and the UK Government must bring forward legislation to end unpaid trial shifts and ensure a fair days work gets a fair days pay."


  1. Stewart McDonald questions to BEIS
  1. Case of young student -
  2. Case of Ellen Reynolds -
  3. Petition to UK Parliament -

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