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Mar 21st, 2018

Unpaid Trial Shifts: Update

By Becca McCarthy

Last Friday, the government prevented the law to stop unpaid trial shifts from being voted on in Parliament. [1] It’s not the result we wanted, but thanks to thousands of 38 Degrees members, we got the issue firmly on the government’s radar.

Together we showed how much we cared about stopping unpaid trial shifts. Here’s how we made sure the issue was on MPs’ agenda:

Over 144,000 of us signed the petition to stop businesses forcing people to work for free

Almost 30,000 of us emailed our MP to explain why unpaid trial shifts were unfair

Over 2,000 of us tweeted our MP the day before the vote

And it had an impact. By showing public support for a change in the law through a petition, and contacting our MPs through emails and tweets, we made sure MPs heard about this issue. Many of the MPs we contacted showed up, spoke in the debate and wanted to vote. [2] Now the government know they can’t ignore it.

The government think that protection against unpaid trial shifts is already in place under existing laws – but we know at the moment it’s not working. [3] Thanks to people like you, we’ve forced the government to pay attention. That will make it easier for all of us to hold them to account on what they do next.


[1]The bill did not pass because Andrew Griffiths, the UK Government Business Minister, used a practise called filibustering. This meant he talked for so long that there wasn’t enough time for MPs to vote on the bill. You can read more about filibustering and Friday’s vote below:
Parliament UK: Filibustering:
BBC News: MP’s bid to ban unpaid trial shifts fails:
Parliament UK: Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19:
[2] If you want to find out whether your MP turned up to the debate and read the transcript of the MP’s who spoke, use the tool below:
[3] See notes [1]

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