Saturday, 23 September 2017 05:51


SNP MP Stewart McDonald has written to all of Scotland’s party leaders to urge them to back a new law to ban the exploitative practice of unpaid trial shifts.

A public consultation on the Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill ended in August, and the bill has received the backing of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Better Than Zero campaign. 

While the UK government does not have official comprehensive statistics on the number of people being asked to work unpaid trial periods, a recent study by Middlesex University and Trust for London, Unpaid Britain (2017), conservatively estimates that workers are missing out on £1.2billion in wages - with unpaid trial shifts contributing towards this.
The MP for Glasgow South is now calling on Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson to back the bill, whip her MPs to vote for it, and use her influence to secure Tory government support. The MP has also written to Scottish Labour’s leadership candidates, and Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie, seeking a commitment that Labour and Lib Dem MPs will also back the bill.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald MP said:
“A fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, but if my bill to ban exploitative unpaid trial shifts is to pass then it is vital that all of Scotland’s MPs get behind it, which is why we need to see a firm commitment of support from Scotland’s party leaders.
“Trial periods are used all too often by unscrupulous employers to take advantage of people who are desperately in need of a job, and use their labour for free without any guarantee – or even any intention – of an offer of paid work at the end of it.
“Since launching the bill I have heard from hundreds of people who have themselves been through this practice, and I cannot convey strongly enough the grim reality of what it is like for people to go through this kind of humiliating exploitation. It is a practice that belongs in the past and my bill offers some hope that it might finally be stamped out once and for all.
“SNP MPs will be backing the bill, and it has already received the support of the STUC, NUS, and the Better than Zero campaign, but the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems have yet to say whether they will support it.  
“I hope Ruth Davidson – and the other party leaders – will join the SNP in standing up for people in Scotland, by backing this bill to protect and extend the rights of Scottish workers and job seekers.”

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