Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Minimum wage avoidance in Wales
I complained to the Information Commissioner after HMRC refused to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act. I asked for the locations of employers in Wales who were failing to pay the minimum wage. I've already blogged on previous investigations into minimum wage avoidance in Wales.
HMRC have now indicated that they have reconsidered their position. I have a summary of businesses breaking the minimum wage in the post-code areas covering Wales. According to HMRC between 2002-03 and 2007-08, 294 employers in the Cardiff postcode area were found not to be paying the minimum wage. In the Swansea postcode area it was 206, Newport 112 and Llandudno 81.
HMRC's U-turn is to be welcomed, but the information provided is still not detailed enough. Dodgy firms failing to pay their employees the minimum wage should be named and shamed. They are undercutting honest employers and exploiting workers - firms who comply with the law will want to see action taken. There have been no prosecutions in Wales for minimum wage avoidance, these companies have effectively got away with it! I can't understand the reluctance of the Westminster Government to prosecute companies who break the law or to make the details public. If naming and shaming is good enough for young people, why is it not good enough for criminal companies?