This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
TRADE unions demanded more powers to report minimum wage underpayment today after a new report said offending bosses should be punished harshly.
According to the report, published by the Resolution Foundation, the rate of underpayment for workers earning the legal minimum and aged over 25 has risen from one in five in 2016 to one in four last year.
However, there is only a one in eight chance of firms that break the law being caught.
Breaches by smaller employers are even less likely to be detected, the study finds, since the responsibility for reporting underpayment lies with the affected workers.
Resolution Foundation analyst Lindsay Judge said that the introduction of the so-called national living wage in 2016 had led to this “worrying” rise in underpayment, with many bosses failing to increase wages in line with the law.
“As the government plans to increase the legal wage floor through this parliament, it is essential to strengthen the incentives for firms to comply,” she said.
The GMB has called for unions to be given greater power to intervene in alleged underpayment cases and for the government to legally enshrine the right of workers to seek trade union help in cases of possible underpayment.
GMB London regional secretary Warren Kenny said: “The level of underpayment of the national minimum wage is likely to be higher than the figures from HMRC shows.
“This is because the onus of reporting cases of underpayment currently falls on low-paid workers themselves.
“Many fear reprisals if they act and so they keep their heads down.
“GMB has called for workers to be able to ask their trade unions to be able to take up cases on their behalf with HMRC. This is not allowed now.
“As the national minimum wage increases as a proportion of average wages, it is essential that other enforcement avenues are opened up for vulnerable workers.
“This is something the new government could do to help workers across the land at no cost to taxpayers.”
A government spokesman said: “HMRC won't hesitate to take action to ensure that workers receive what they are legally entitled to.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.