On the anniversary of his Private Members Bill on Unpaid Trail Shifts SNP MP Stewart McDonald has said he will ‘ not give up the fight ‘ to ban the exploitative shifts and will ‘stand firmly with the public’ on the issue despite Tory MPs talking out and blocking the Bill at Westminster.
Stewart McDonald’s Bill 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 cross-party support, a public petition with over 140,000 signatures and the backing of leading organisations including the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), the UK government prevented the Bill from going to a vote in the UK parliament.
HMRC have also confirmed that they have referred MPs who had advertised for unpaid work, to their investigations team. This followed a complaint made by Stewart McDonald.
Stewart McDonald MP commented :
‘’It was disappointing that my Bill didn’t make it through Parliament, but I am certainly not giving up the fight and stand firmly with the public on this issue. We must end exploitative, unpaid trial shifts for workers, and I shall continue to call on the UK Government to bring an end to such practices.
‘’Since the Bill was talked out, the Tory Government has been unable to tell me how many people are being asked to complete unpaid work trials, how much – if any - money has been recouped from HMRC as a result of unpaid work trials, and said unpaid work trials are “permissible” as part of a recruitment process.
‘’As an MP, I am still hearing horror stories from constituents who are being asked to work hours unpaid, without knowing if they’ll even get the job – if there even is one available.
‘’Unpaid trial shifts are still exploiting workers. The UK Government really needs to step up its game and public opinion remains firmly against these exploitative practices, yet how can the public have faith in this Government when HMRC have confirmed they have referred MPs, who I had highlighted for advertising unpaid work, to their investigations team?
‘’I have said it all along - a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”