Stewart McDonald MP has criticised the UK government for ruling out legislation that would prevent unscrupulous employers from asking job applicants to work without any payment or guarantee of a job.
The MP for Glasgow South said the decision would allow the exploitative practice to continue unchecked and has vowed to continue his ongoing campaign against unpaid trial shifts.
Stewart McDonald, who previously introduced a Bill seeking 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, spoke out following the UK Government's rejection of a public petition in the House of Commons calling for a ban on unpaid work trials.
Unpaid trial shifts contribute to an estimated £3billion in lost wages in the UK every year and continue to be an issue facing prospective employees, with local Glasgow resident Ellen Reynolds launching a petition to ban unpaid work trials after recently being asked to work five hours for free.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald MP said:
“The culture of unpaid work remains a scourge on society and the UK Government's decision to rule out a ban on unpaid trial shifts will see this problem continue.
"I have long campaigned and even presented a Bill to ban unpaid work trials, and I still hear horror stories from people who are being asked to work hours unpaid, without knowing if they will even get the job – if there even is one available. It is clear the current guidance on unpaid trials not working.
“Whilst the Government acknowledges the prevalence of unpaid work trials, the current guidance does not go far enough. It is clear the UK Government think unpaid trial shifts should still be permitted, and, despite saying such trials should last no longer than one day, the guidance remains too vague in protecting workers should they fall victim to longer unpaid trials.
“I still believe the only way to fix the issue is an outright ban on unpaid work trials, and I urge the UK Government to urgently rethink and engage on the subject. Everyone should be paid fairly and properly for the work that they do, which is more important than ever in a post-COVID world and the recovery that goes with it.”