Pub employers ‘named and shamed’ for dodging national living wage

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

BEIS: released damning list of employers who underpaid staff
BEIS: released damning list of employers who underpaid staff

Related tags: National living wage, Minimum wage

Several pubs have been named and shamed for underpaying their staff the national minimum or living wage. 

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy released a list of 360 businesses that have been caught underpaying workers.

In the pub sector, these included:

  • Mitchells & Butlers Retail (No 2) Limited, trading as Harvester The Lowry, Birmingham B31, which failed to pay £329.10 to two workers.
  • Bula Restaurants Limited, trading as The Ditton, Surbiton KT6, which failed to pay £653.24 to nine workers.
  • CCR&L Inns Ltd, trading as The Millstone Inn, Stamford PE9, which failed to pay £531.88 to one worker.
  • Ms Lorraine Pearson, trading as Keyworth Tavern, Nottingham NG12, failed to pay £133.65 to one worker.

Excuses

Hospitality, as a sector, was one of the most prolific offenders, as well as retail and hairdressing. According to BEIS, common excuses for underpaying included using tips to top up pay, docking wages to pay for Christmas parties and making staff pay for their own uniforms out of salaries.

This is the first time the list has included employers who failed to pay the new National Living Wage, which is currently £7.20 for workers over 25.

Business minister Margot James said: “Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this Government will ensure they get it.

“That is why we have named and shamed more than 350 employers who failed to pay the legal minimum, sending the clear message to employers that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.”

This comes as Unite, the union, has called for bosses who skimp on properly paying their employees to face jail.

Stronger action needed

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the Government – which had prosecuted just 13 employers since 2007 – needed to take much stronger action to enforce national minimum and living wage rules if it was serious about stopping the exploitation of workers.

He said: “The fact that the Government has mounted only 13 prosecutions for non-compliance since 2007 is pathetic. In America, bad bosses are jailed and heavily fined for ‘wage theft’ which is what this is -exploiting workers in such a shameful fashion.

“If top executives with mega pay packets weren’t getting their bonuses paid on time, all hell would break loose. What the Government has announced today is welcome, but is only a step in the right direction and much more is needed.

“To address growing levels of poverty a genuine living wage must be introduced, sector-level collective bargaining introduced and stronger, more effective enforcement funded.”

The Government’s national minimum wage was “pathetically low” and “inadequate” for those under 21 and was leading to “obscene levels of growing poverty” in UK communities, he said, adding that Unite strongly supported a minimum living wage of £10 per hour.

Related topics: Legislation

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