Sandwich firm on minimum wage shaming list

A sandwich firm is among 70 firms named and shamed by the government, which have failed to pay the minimum wage.

Under the new naming regime, as part of a minimum wage crackdown, HMRC found that Mr S Partridge and Ms M Shead, trading as Cobblers Fine Sandwiches & Pastries, Wakefield, neglected to pay £1,003.83 to a worker.

Stephen Partridge told British Baker that the situation came about after the company got confused between employing someone as part of an apprenticeship scheme or a youth contract scheme, after another company supplied them with the worker.

Partridge said: “We emailed saying we would pay her £3 an hour and they never objected to that. It wasn’t until we sent out paperwork off that we were told it was wrong, we got confused between apprenticeship and contract money. Everything is settled now.”

Between the 70 employers, the businesses owed workers a total of over £157,000 in arrears and have been charged financial penalties totalling over £70,000.

Business minister Jo Swinson said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable. Naming and shaming gives a clear warning to employers who ignore the rules, that they will face reputational consequences, as well as financial penalties of up to £20,000, if they don’t pay the minimum wage.

"We are legislating through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill so that this penalty can be applied to each underpaid worker rather than per employer.

“We are helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them as well as raising awareness to make sure workers are paid fairly in the first place.”

Also on the list were two coffee shop businesses and two pizza companies.

Workers union calls for action

GMB, the UK’s general workers union has since called for the named directors to be denied further directorships.

It has also said that enforcement rules be changed so that trade unions can make complaints to HMRC on behalf of members.

Martin Smith, GMB national organiser, said: “As part of the public disgracing for the firms named, GMB is calling for the directors of these companies to be placed on a ‘wage offenders register’ at Companies House and be deemed an unfit person to hold any further directorships.

“We are expecting the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission any time now on the uprating of the national minimum wage from £6.50.

“There is bucket-loads of evidence that an uplift of at least 50p per hour would help the low-paid and start to stimulate the economy and that all the big firms, including the retailers, can afford it.”

The government has named 92 employers since the new naming regime came into force in October 2013. They had total arrears of over £316,000 and total penalties of over £111,000.

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