SNP MP launches new cross-party group to tackle unpaid work trials
Posted on June 4 2019 at 18:30
SNP MP Stewart McDonald
will today launch a new cross-party group in Parliament in a bid to tackle the
growing concern of unpaid work trials.
The All Party Parliamentary
Group (APPG) on Unpaid Work Trials brings together MPs from all
the major political parties to gather evidence from stakeholders and produce a
report with key recommendations to tackle the problem.
Stewart McDonald MP previously introduced his Unpaid Trial Shifts 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.
Despite wide support for the Bill, a public petition with over 140,000
signatures, and the backing of leading organisations including the Scottish
Trade Union Congress (STUC), the Tory government blocked the Bill from going to
a vote. The UK government has taken no meaningful action to tackle the issue
since blocking the bill.
It is estimated that unpaid work trial shifts contribute to an estimated £3
billion in lost wages in the UK every year. Last month, it was revealed that
the BBC was advertising for unpaid workers as part of their Wimbledon coverage,
with placements lasting up to 10 days over the event.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald
“The culture of unpaid work is a scourge on society - and the UK government
must finally take meaningful action to tackle it.
“People doing a fair day’s work deserve a fair day’s pay - this should not be
up for debate.
“I will continue to work with other MPs and organisations to ramp up the
pressure on the Tory government to take urgent action, including by changing
Bryan Simpson, STUC
Better Than Zero campaign, added:
"We know from our members across the hospitality industry that the use of
unpaid trial shifts particularly within the bars & restaurant industry has
grown exponentially over the past few years with employers (large and small)
using unpaid trial shifts to cover staff absence with no intention of giving
them a job at the end of it.
"These workers need legal protection from unscrupulous employers who
continue to use unpaid trial shifts as a shameless way to obtain free labour.
The creation of an all party group on unpaid trial shifts is an important step
in that direction."