By Harriet Trickett
A grassroots organisation has been campaigning to end the practice of unpaid trial shifts in Brighton and Hove.
Say No to Unpaid Trial Shifts are campaigning and have set up a link on their website of how to report unpaid trial shifts to HRMC.
The group defines an unpaid trial shift whereby an employer makes revenue from a prospective employee working for any duration of time and carried out a survey.
A survey was carried out by Say No to Unpaid Trial Shifts with over 230 responses.
Harry White is a student campaigner, who helped with the website and speaking to businesses.
“The survey results confirmed it was very common practice and not very agreed with,” said Harry.
The report into unpaid shifts went before the council’s policy, resources and growth committee earlier this year.
Tony Rodgers, a campaign member employment law expert and HR consultant said: “we go on the streets, talk to them about the campaign, we have a sticker they can take and put in their campaign with a commitment they are not undergoing the practice.”
Harry said: “Whatever the council is doing, whilst we greatly thank them for their support we will continue to campaign ourselves”.
“We don’t want to shame businesses, we want to talk to businesses, it’s about championing those who don’t do unpaid trial shifts and talking to those who do them and hopefully to have some success.”
The following draft policy statement was agreed by the policy, resources and growth committe: “As a Local Authority, Brighton & Hove City Council believes people should be paid when asked to undertake training or trial shifts prior to being considered for work, and this is consistent with our support of the Brighton and Hove Living Wage campaign.
“The Council believe that where this practice leads to profit it is unfair and is committed to working with businesses and partners to end this practice.”
There is the facility to report unpaid trial shifts in Brighton & Hove on the campaign’s website.
Caroline Lucas, Brighton & Hove MP said: “The truth is in the twenty years since the minimum wage no one has been prosecuted for doing this. That’s got to stop. That is why I’m delighted to be supporting the students who are raising this incredibly important issue in Brighton & Hove.”
Komedia cinema is one of the businesses to have signed up to the campaign along with Bagelman in Brighton.
Jo Prior, Managing Director of Bagelman said: “It’s a campaign that’s really important to us, our whole approach to employment is very much to do with respect.”
“We recruit in lots of different ways at the moment but when we open a new store we use a recruitment workshop, we use eventbrite, you book your place, you turn up, it’s a couple of hours and from that we choose the best people. We found this approach to be really valuable, our turn over has dropped massively.”
More information is available at: https://www.nounpaid.com/report-to-hrmc