Firm’s minimum wage shame

News story
News story

A WIGAN business has been named and shamed on a new list of companies accused of paying its workers below the National Minimum Wage.

Professional Referral Services Ltd was one of 70 firms revealed as not complying with minimum wage rules and having arrears of more than £100 owing to staff.

The company, which has a registered office in Bridgeman Terrace, but does not operate there, is said to have neglected to pay £156.93 to two workers.

According to Datalog – an online database of businesses – Professional Referral Services Ltd was founded in 2007 and is a private limited company registered in England with Companies House. It states that its annual turnover is £6.5m or less and it employs fewer than 50 people,

The firm changed its name from Blue Squirrel IT in 2013, with a website still operating, stating it provides online marketing, web design solutions and website optimisation for businesses.

The Evening Post was unable to contact bosses for a comment. Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue has been campaigning for better pay conditions for workers over the last few years. She said: “Those on the lowest pay are at the sharpest end of the cost-of-living crisis. In-work poverty is a shocking legacy of this government’s five years in power and the next Labour government is determined to do something about it.

“Families are on average £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron became Prime Minister and the value of the National Minimum Wage has suffered during this period.

“A recent report by HM Revenue & Customs says there has been “systemic failure” in the way the National Minimum Wage is policed. The ‘naming and shaming’ of unscrupulous businesses which flout it will be worthless unless government commit to properly enforcing the minimum wage.

“That is why, a future Labour government will commit to increasing the minimum wage to £8 per hour, end exploitative zero hour contracts and provide tax breaks for employers to pay the living wage.”

To support the minimum wage crackdown, the government will be increasing HMRC’s £9.2m enforcement budget by a further £3m.

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 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’re working hard in areas where we know there are particular problems, like the care sector, to make sure staff are paid fairly.”

The current Minimum Wage rates are: Adult rate (21 and over) - £6.50 per hour; 18-20 year olds - £5.13 per hour; 16-17 year olds - £3.79 per hour; Apprentice rate - £2.73 per hour.

The GMB union is now calling on the Government to ban on directors of the guilty firms from holding directorships. Martin Smith, GMB National Organizer, said: “Naming and shaming these 70 employers is to be welcomed as far too few wage dodging employers not paying the national minimum wage have been brought to justice. 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” and be deemed an unfit person to hold any further directorships. “