Scots firms ‘named and shamed’ for not paying minimum wage

Lord Duncan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Lord Duncan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Nineteen Scottish firms have been “named and shamed” for failing to pay the minimum wage and ordered to pay more than £35,000 to workers who found themselves short-changed.

A total of 90 staff across Scotland are to receive a chunk of the £2 million back pay across the UK being given out to those who were underpaid.

Shops, a motor mechanics firm and hairdressing businesses are among the offenders in Scotland, it has been revealed.

Scotland Office Minister Lord Duncan said: “Life is tough enough for folks today without employers trying to diddle their workers out of their entitlement.

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“The UK government’s national living wage was established to ensure that everyone, everywhere, receives a decent income. To hear that there are still companies that believe they can get away with underpaying their staff is unacceptable. If it takes naming and shaming to ensure that employers wake up to their responsibilities then the UK government will not shirk from that task. Workers need to know that we have their back on this one.”

The Fish and Chip Ship Ltd in West Dunbartonshire faces the highest Scottish bill in the UK government scheme to crack down on offenders.

Officials said the firm failed to pay £4,900 to nine workers.

DSL Accident Repair Ltd, based in Edinburgh, is next on the list with £4,896 owed to three workers, while the Rainbow Room (Clarkston) Ltd, which has since changed names, failed to pay £4,532 to 21 workers.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are using all powers at our disposal to promote fair pay. We are doing this through our approach to fair working practices in procurement, our support for living wage accreditation, the business pledge and the Fair Work Convention.

“We would encourage employers across Scotland to ensure that they are paying staff the legal minimum wage rate.”

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Since the scheme was introduced in 2013, 40,000 workers have received back pay totalling more than £6m, with 1,200 employers fined £4m.

Current national minimum wage rates range from £7.50 an hour for those aged 25 and over to an apprentice rate of £3.50 an hour.

Across the UK, workers at 233 businesses will receive back pay in the latest round of payments totalling around £2m, while employers have been fined £1.9m in total by the UK government.

A spokeswoman for Citizens Advice Scotland said the figures highlight the problem that still exists with rogue employers.

She added: “CAB advisers see so many people now who are in work, and are struggling because of low wages or unfair employment practices which can place them in extremely difficult situations.”

Reasons given by employers for underpaying workers included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, not paying workers for overtime hours, and paying apprenticeship rates to workers.

Shadow Scotland Office Minister Paul Sweeney said: “Any trader or business found not to be paying the minimum wage should face the full force of the law.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said it was right to throw the spotlight on firms responsible.

“It is completely unacceptable for firms to think that they can get away with underpaying their staff,” he said.