One chance to change one law. What do you decide to do?
It is an extremely difficult decision to make, but that is the position I found myself in after being drawn out of the Private Members’ Bill Ballot this year.
When you have such an opportunity you want to make life better for those who have elected you, and for people across the country.
What I found was troubling people most when I was on the door steps in the election campaign were three crucial things: job, financial and household security – all extremely understandable, particularly as the UK government continues with its needless austerity agenda.
I remember the delight of my first job offer. I worked in McDonald’s (having already applied and being rejected) and I was even more delighted when I got my first pay cheque – spent on rubbish no doubt.
However, I know others don’t always have the same experience.
One particular instance of such insecurity was brought to my attention earlier this year by a constituent of mine.
A company in Glasgow were allegedly asking applicants to undertake 40 hours of unpaid work before they would be considered for employment, with no guarantee of a job when the trial is completed.
I was blocked by the company’s social media accounts for daring to challenge such disgraceful practices, which since raising with them they say they have now stopped.
A petition calling for an enquiry into the company reached over 13,000 signatures and I wrote to HMRC about the issue – who confirmed they would look into the matter if it broke the National Minimum Wage definition.
But all this should never have needed to be done in the first place.
That is what led me to introduce a bill that will clamp down on unpaid trial shifts – the Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill, which I lodged in the House of Commons this week.
We now have an opportunity to end such unfair practices, and ensure people have the financial, job and household security they deserve. I hope you will ask your MP to back my Bill when it comes to a vote in Parliament next year.
The Prime Minister, more than any other MP, knows what it’s like to have a job but not have job security. She should be the first member of the Conservative Party to back my Bill.
Having claimed on the steps of Downing Street one year ago that this is the type of practice that she wants to stamp out, I hope she will order her MPs to back my Bill and stop them using archaic parliamentary procedures to talk it out.
MPs debate and amend legislation all the time, but we get very few opportunities to introduce our own Bill in the hope of making a new law.
It’s going to be tough work, but I’m excited and driven by the opportunity to make things a bit better for people. I hope you will get behind me and lobby your own MP to back my Bill.
If you want to share your experiences of unpaid trial shifts, or just give me your views on the Bill then visit my website – stewartmcdonald.scot – and respond to my online consultation today.
This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.