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TUC calls for action on min wage scams

O’Grady brands offending ‘cheapskate’ employers ‘anti-social’

STINGY bosses who connive to pay their workers less than the minimum wage should be named and shamed, a shocking new report into wage exploitation argues.

TUC research revealed that employers were scheming to get around paying workers statutory rates through scams including under-recording hours, bogus self-employment and misusing interns.

Horror stories also included workers being charged for uniforms and having to pay for travel between work sites.

Other workers were clocked off at less busy times during the day.

Employers have been known to vanish to avoid minimum wage fines only to reappear under another name.

The Enforcing the National Minimum Wage — Keeping up the Pressure report calls for beefed-up fines and for the worst offenders to be prosecuted.

It also calls for HM Revenue and Customs to hire an additional 100 enforcement officers — echoing concerns from Civil Service union PCS that understaffing had made it impossible for officials to carry out their duties effectively.

The report also argues that marginalised workers such as migrants and apprentices are more at risk.

Professions where workers are more likely to find themselves the victims of exploitation include social work and seafaring.

“Failing to pay the minimum wage is an antisocial act that squeezes those workers who have the least,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

“There should be no hiding place for cheapskate bosses who try to cheat their workers out of the minimum wage.

“We must engage in a constant battle to ensure that every worker gets at least the minimum. It is clear that some employers are actively looking for new ways not to pay even the legal minimum.

“There should be a broad consensus between political parties, good employers and trade unions that the minimum wage must always be enforced effectively."

She urged everyone to support the TUC’s plan for ensuring continuous improvement to the minimum wage system.

The findings follow reports that business stooges sitting on the Low Pay Commission were gearing up to block an attempt to recommend the minimum wage be raised by 50p to £7 an hour.

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