SNP MP Stewart McDonald has hit out at the BBC Director General for a lack of action on unpaid trial shifts, despite the broadcaster previously committing to ending the practice.
His comments come as it was revealed by career blog Graduate Fog that the BBC was advertising for volunteers as part of their Wimbledon sport coverage, with placements lasting up to 10 days over the course of the event.
The SNP MP had previously introduced the 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 cross-party 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.
At the end of last year, SNP MP took on the broadcaster after it was found offering unpaid work trials. In response, the BBC’s Director General assured Mr McDonald that they would stop using unpaid work.
It’s estimated that unpaid work trial shifts contribute to an estimated £3 billion in lost wages in the UK every year.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald MP said:
“As the UK’s national broadcaster, the Director General must confirm unequivocally that work placements at the BBC will be paid at least the minimum wage - in line with their own policy.
“I am bitterly disappointed that the BBC appear to have gone back on their commitment to tackle the scourge of unpaid work, especially given these assurances were given to me in writing only a few short months ago.
“People doing a fair day’s work deserve a fair day’s pay.
“I will continue to work with other MPs and organisations to ramp up the pressure in Parliament on the Tory government to take urgent action. If the UK government will not act, then it must devolve the powers to the Scottish Parliament so that the SNP can take real action to end this ridiculously unjust practice.”
BBC criticised for “exhausting” unpaid work experience at Wimbledon - https://graduatefog.co.uk/2019/6063/bbc-work-experience-wimbledon-unpaid-sport/
Letter to Tony Hall, Director General, BBC - https://twitter.com/StewartMcDonald/status/1123191655861977089
Work Experience listing - https://careershub.bbc.co.uk/members/modules/job/detail.php?jobboard=tribepad&c=jobalerts&record=38830