COUNCILLORS voted to condemn unpaid work trials, with members describing the practice by some employers as ‘slave labour’.

The SNP presented a motion at last week’s full council meeting in support of the party’s forthcoming bill at Westminster which seeks to prohibit unpaid trial work periods.

The motion asked that the council’s Chief Executive write to Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn asking their parties to support the bill.

It will also ask that the council take action to inform local businesses that unpaid trial periods are unacceptable and exploitative.

Kilwinning SNP Cllr Scott Davidson cited a case of a young constituent who was offered unpaid trial work in a local restaurant over the festive season.

“He was offered the prospect of full time employment but after having performed completely different duties than expected and staying late for three days, it became clear to him that he had only been used to provide free labour with no intention to hire him.”

Cllr Davidson also stressed the difference between work experience where young people know there will be no job offer at the end of it, and unpaid work trials.

The Conservative group moved that the council reject the motion in it’s current wording, saying there was a lack of clarity on what the finished bill would look like.

Cllr Todd Ferguson said: “While fully supportive of what Cllr Davidson is putting forward, the bill is at its second reading and there is a number of issues which need to be ironed out, in particular around what happens through the DWP who use unpaid work trials for unemployed people which doesn’t affect there benefits.”

Following a vote, 26 councillors supported the motion, with only six voting for the amendment.

Later, Cllr Scott Davidson said: “Council officers will now raise awareness amongst employers that NAC will not associate with any company, organisation or business that exploits people by offering unpaid work trials and I am hopeful that this will make employers think twice about exploiting those who are desperate to find employment.”