SNP MP launches new cross-party group to tackle unpaid work trials
Posted on June 4 2019 at 18:45
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 MP said:
“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 the law."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."