I welcome the naming of local employers – by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) – who are not paying the National Minimum Wage.
Raja Brothers, a convenience store, on Ripponden Road has been named for underpaying two of their staff by £1,037.01. Penrhyn Inns Limited, trading as The White Hart restaurant in Lydgate, also appears in the DBEI’s list after failing to pay one worker £807.70 – although the owner has since stated the underpayment was the result of an administrative error which was immediately rectified.
More than 13,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers will receive back pay and 233 employers have been fined £1.9m for underpaying their workers. Since 2013, the scheme has identified £6m back pay for 40,000 workers, with 1,200 employers fined £4m.
Whether as a result of error or a deliberate policy, if employers are failing to abide by the law and pay their staff the legal minimum wage, they need to know that they will be publicly named. Hopefully this ongoing campaign will alert other employers to the importance of ensuring all staff are being properly remunerated. It’s tough for people to find jobs that pay enough to cover their bills as it is without employers knowingly underpaying their staff.
Before I was appointed Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, I set up and chaired the Oldham Fairness Commission and found that one in three jobs in Oldham are paid below the ‘living wage’, compared with one in five in the North-West as a whole.
One of the key findings of the commission was that we must do everything we can to establish Oldham as a ‘living wage’ borough. The commission found overwhelming evidence of the effects income inequalities have on how long we live, our health, social mobility and levels of crime.
Labour believe in a full and proper wage for a working day. That’s why I, along with fellow Oldham MPs Jim McMahon, Angela Rayner and Councillor Jenny Harrison, have said we’re committed to introducing a statutory real living wage across our constituencies wherever and whenever we can. Decent pay is not just fundamentally fair, it’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for Oldham.
Looking at the national picture, we already have 7.4 million people receiving in-work social security and four million children living in poverty due to this Tory government’s abject failure with our economy so we mustn’t let employers get away with this sort of unfair treatment of staff.
This is why Labour has promised to set a Living Minimum Wage and give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent. This would give almost a quarter of workers (23 per cent) a pay rise, with more than 40 per cent of workers in parts of the country benefiting. It’s shocking that real wages in Britain are still lower now than they were before the crisis, 10 years ago.
Labour will take a different approach, one which puts working people first; ensuring that work always pays and that hardworking families are supported, creating a fair society for the many, not the few.
There are currently around 2,000 open cases which HMRC is investigating. Eligible employers will be named and shamed after their cases have been closed.
For more information about your pay, or if you think you might be being underpaid, get advice and guidance at www.gov.uk/checkyourpay.