From Belfast Telegraph, 28 April 1999.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.
ACCORDING to a report in the Belfast Telegraph, April 17, a survey carried out by a major trade union to “name and shame” low-paying employers has drawn a blank in Northern Ireland. All I can say is that they can’t have looked very far or very hard certainly not at non-union workplaces.
The Socialist Party has launched an End Low Pay Campaign and we have been on the streets with our Name and Shame board asking people to sign up scrooge employers. So far we have a list of almost 100 firms who pay buttons. The lowest are around £1.45 per hour but the majority are between £2 and £3.
There are obvious culprits cleaning companies, catering firms, restaurants and bars but many established and supposedly reputable companies are also on our list. A few raised their wages to the basic minimum when the minimum wage became law but our findings are that most are ignoring it.
Why should they pay the £3.60 when virtually no resources have been given over to enforcement?
There are around 1,000 people employed in Belfast in the Child Support Agency because they are saving the Government money on benefits. About one-tenth of this number have been employed for the whole of the United Kingdom to enforce the minimum wage.
With a paltry fine of £7.20 per day per employee paid less than the minimum, few employers are likely to break sweat if caught ignoring the law.
Enforcement will have to be from below. We will continue to publicly “name and shame” and will follow this up with more direct action to expose employers who break the law and to make sure that their workforces have proper union rights.
Last updated: 10.8.2013