09 March 2018
The government has named and shamed 179 employers for dodging the minimum wage, including several major high street firms.
At the top of the list, owing an enormous £133,212 in unpaid wages to 2,630 workers, was food outlet Wagamama, followed by Marriott Hotels, which was £71,723 in arrears, and TGI Friday’s where 2,302 workers were due £59,348.
Overall, 9,200 workers had been underpaid by a total of £1.1 million. As well as being instructed to pay their staff the wages owed, the 179 companies were issued fines amounting to £1.3 million.
The Institute of Employment Rights argues that statutory individual rights, such as the National Minimum Wage, do not go far enough to protect workers. In our Manifesto for Labour Law – 25 recommendations for reform, adopted by the Labour Party as a blueprint for their programme of employment law proposals – 15 leading lawyers and academics advocate for a shift in the focus of labour law to collective rights, such as sectoral collective bargaining.
Through this process, which is employed extensively across some of Europe’s strongest economies, trade unions negotiate with employers’ associations for minimum pay and conditions across entire industries. Much modern research has found this is the most effective way to raise the wages of those on low incomes and resist ever-widening income inequality.
The Manifesto also recommends the establishment of an independent Labour Inspectorate, with the power to hold employers accountable to collectively agreed wages and conditions, to issue penalties to employers who break the law, and to take breaches to court where required.