Hotel, restaurant chains top low pay “list of shame”

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Restaurant, hotel chains were among the worst offenders on the government’s minimum wage list.

Two West Midlands football clubs were among those named and shamed Friday in a government list of companies who flouted Britain’s minimum pay laws.

At the top of the list however, came three multinational companies — Wagamama, Marriott Hotels and TGI Fridays.

The list of low-pay offenders included 15 West Midlands-based companies, with Birmingham City Football Club and Stoke City Football Club among them.

Globebrow Ltd, the Shropshire-based company that runs Manor Adventure, came top of the list for the West Midlands.

But the three giants, who all have branches across the West Midlands, topped the list of 179 offenders nationally.

All three post millions of pounds in profits every year internationally — but in Britain, they failed to pay some of their lowest-paid workers what they were due.

“There are no excuses for short-changing workers,” Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said in a statement.

“This is an absolute red line for this Government and employers who cross it will get caught — not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200% of wages owed.”

The government is set to raise the minimum wage from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour on April 1.

Across Britain, 179 employers underpaid 9,000 minimum-wage workers by a total of £1.1 million. Inspectors slapped fines totalling £1.3 million on the offenders — as well as making them pay the wages due.

Those caught out included hotel and restaurant chains, sports clubs and smaller businesses such as hairdressers and beauticians.

The list of shame

The top three offenders nationally all have branches in and around Birmingham.

Restaurant chain Wagamama came top of the list of shame. “We continue to get better with every day,” it says on its website.

But it had to pay £133,212 in arrears to 2,630 employees. Wagamama has three outlets in Birmingham alone.

Second on the list was the Marriott Hotel chain.

“We put people first,” says its website — but it underpaid 279 members of staff a total of £71,723.

The Marriott chain has highly rated three hotels in and around Birmingham, including the upscale Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club.

Third was a company running another major food chain, TGI Fridays. In Birmingham, it has chains on the Hagley road and at the NEC, as well as others in Walsall, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull.

Its charter promises all staff will get at least the minimum wage. But it had to pay £59,348 to 2,302 of its minimum wage staff for offences dating between 2014 and 2016.

A statement from Wagamama said their offence had been due to “an inadvertent misunderstanding” of how the law worked.

They had required some stuff to buy uniforms for work out of their own pocket, but inspectors said that breached the rules.

“We have gladly made payments to current and previous employees who missed out…” and had updated their policy.

A TGI Fridays spokesperson said: “TGI Fridays does pay the National Minimum Wage hourly rate.”

They too had required employees to buy elements of their own uniform.  “We have since reimbursed team members,” the spokesman added.

A spokesman for Marriott said: “Some hotels made deductions from wages for live-in accommodation or late-night taxi services.”

They had acted in good faith, but the mistake was discovered during routine checks by government inspectors.

Marriott cooperated fully and quickly repaid those concerned, said the statement. They were fined £41,000 for their error.

See also: the West Midlands companies caught out

And: Birmingham City FC fined for underpaying employees


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