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Rona Mackay takes unpaid trial shifts debate to Holyrood

MSP Rona Mackay is set to hold a debate in the Scottish Parliament on unpaid trial shifts.

The exploitative practice is being used to cover staff shortages and cut costs, the MSP said.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald is currently putting a Bill through the UK Parliament to ban unpaid trial shifts.

Ms Mackay is bringing the debate to the floor in Holyrood for MSPs to thrash out why they should be banned.

She said: “There is a systemic exploitation of workers across Scotland who are being used as free labour by companies to cover staff shortages and save money.

“Most of the time, young people in desperate need of employment are being targeted by rogue employers mostly in the hospitality industry.

“Many businesses already pay potential workers they take on for a trial – but more are not, and some are seriously abusing people looking for work.

“It is a callous practice that costs the UK economy £1.2 billion a year on wages, according to researchers at Middlesex University and Trust for London in its Unpaid Britain research paper.

“For all of these reasons, I am very glad to be holding a debate in the parliament on what is a very important issue. The abuse of unpaid trial shifts needs to be put out there and discussed as much as possible.

“I would like to thank Stewart McDonald MP for his efforts on the Westminster Bill to get them banned across the UK. Sadly this is an area where the legislation is reserved to the UK Government – but here in Scotland we need to shout about the issue and let the public know how bad the situation has become.”

The debate will take place at 5pm on Tuesday January 23 and can be watched at


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