SNP candidate for Glasgow South, Stewart McDonald, has announced his party will ramp up pressure on the UK government to ban exploitative unpaid trial shifts once and for all.
The SNP’s manifesto for the upcoming UK General Election will contain a commitment to introduce legislation on Unpaid Trial Shifts in the next Parliament – with the aim of ending 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.
Mr McDonald, who has served as the MP for Glasgow South since 2015, has led on the issue in Westminster by introducing a Private Members Bill that was eventually blocked by the Tory government.
It is estimated that unpaid work trial shifts contribute to an estimated £3 billion in lost wages in the UK every year.
Commenting, SNP candidate Stewart McDonald said: “I’ve heard countless horror stories from people across the country who are being asked to work several hours unpaid, without knowing if they will even get the job – if there even is one available.
“It’s a soul destroying practice that must stop.
“As we head in to the Christmas period in particular, we will see a rise in people being offered unpaid trials shifts, often advertised where no job even exists.
“This must be the last Christmas of the unpaid work trial.
“Whilst I was pleased to secure new government guidelines that make clear unpaid trials are wrong, it is obvious that this is not enough and we need proper legislation to outlaw unpaid trial shifts.
“The SNP is the party of workers’ rights and have a solid record in advancing them where we can at Holyrood, as well as seeking greater work place protections at a UK level.
“Whilst the Tory government went out of its way to block previous legislation, there is a huge consensus across the country that unpaid trial shifts are pernicious and plainly unfair.
“Unpaid shifts serve as a blockage to those trying to find honest, paid work and must go.
“So today the SNP is laying down a challenge to every political party in the UK: back our plans to get rid of unpaid trial shifts or stand with the Tories who continue to deny workers a fair wage.”
Yesterday (Saturday 9th), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced SNP MPs will demand the next UK government delivers equal pay for equal work by ending minimum wage differences between young and older workers.
The so-called ‘National Living Wage for Over-25’s is nearly twice that of under-18s – £8.21 an hour compared to just £4.35 an hour.