GMB Motion To TUC In Brighton Calls For Congress To Give Notice Of Recommending "No" Vote If Cameron Waters Down EU Employment Rights
Latest announcement to crack down on employers not paying national minimum wage is “more window dressing” by the Tories ahead of the EU referendum says GMB.
GMB labelled the latest announcement that the Government plan to crack down on employers not paying the national minimum wage as “more window dressing” ahead of the EU referendum and drew attention to the GMB motion to be debated at the TUC Congress in Brighton on September 13th. See notes to editors for copy of BIS release and copy of GMB motion to TUC Congress.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said "This latest announcement to crack down on employers not paying national minimum wage is more window dressing by the Tories ahead of the EU referendum vote.
There has been few employers taken to court and the levels of inspections have been pathetic. Trades Unions are not allowed to complain to the enforcement authorities and local councils are also not allowed any role in enforcing the law.
The Tories realise that allowing employers a free hand to exploit UK and migrant workers will impact on the EU referendum vote. This is why we are seeing a lot of ministerial announcements on migration and pay. These are all window dressing as there are no mechanisms proposed to enforce any of them.
The CBI and IOD want Cameron in his EU renegotiations to get rid of current employment rights to make exploitation easier. If he does that workers will know how to vote in the referendum.
The GMB motion at TUC calls for Congress to give notice that it will recommend a “No” vote in the referendum if these rights and protections are removed."
Contact: Kathleen Walker Shaw 07841 181549 or Kamaljeet Jandu GMB National Officer, 07956 237178 or Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to editors:
1 Text of GMB motion to TUC Congress 2015:
EU reform agenda and referendum
Congress reaffirms that its support for the EU is based on a true balance of the economic and social dimensions of Europe. Our members wanted to see peace, improved living and working conditions, social and economic progress and prosperity for all – not just the few. Congress notes with concern that the current reality is far from that vision.
Congress recognises we are now at a crossroads with the EU. Britain faces a referendum on its future in the EU before the end of 2017, based on a range of reforms currently being negotiated by an aggressively right-wing Conservative Government egged on by the CBI.
Congress condemns the attacks on EU employment rights, which seek a general withdrawal from the EU social chapter and, furthermore, intend to rob us of the vital protections which we have spent decades fighting for, including:
I the right to four weeks’ paid holidays, rest breaks and the right not to work more than 48 hours a week under the Working Time Directive:
Ii equal treatment on pay and conditions for agency workers.
Congress firmly opposes any scaling back of employment and social rights in the EU reform negotiations and calls on other EU governments to oppose any such requests by the UK government, which would unravel the EU Treaty commitment to improving living and working conditions and trigger social dumping across the EU.
Congress gives notice that it will recommend a “No” vote in the referendum if these rights and protections are removed.
Plus CWU amendment
• Insert new paragraph 3:
“This necessary debate on the position of workers within the EU is being overshadowed by the negative portrayal of migrants and asylum seekers by the press, media and government, designed to generate a xenophobic mindset thus deflecting attention away from the EU being redesigned to the detriment of workers.”
Communication Workers Union
2 Text of BIS press release dated 1st September
MEASURES TO ENSURE PEOPLE RECEIVE FAIR PAY ANNOUNCED
· INCREASED PENALTIES FOR NON-PAYMENT OF MINIMUM WAGE AND NEW NATIONAL LIVING WAGE
· DEDICATED TEAM TO TACKLE MOST SERIOUS CASES
· INCREASED BUDGET FOR ENFORCEMENT
· NEW LABOUR MARKET ENFORCEMENT DIRECTOR
A package of measures to ensure hardworking people receive the pay they are entitled to is being announced today.
The measures include:
· doubling the penalties for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage
· increasing the enforcement budget
· setting up a new team in HMRC to take forward criminal prosecutions for those who deliberately do not comply; and
· ensuring that anyone found guilty will be considered for disqualification from being a company director for up to 15 years.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“There is no excuse for employers flouting minimum wage rules and these announcements will ensure those who do try and cheat staff out of pay will feel the full force of the law.
“This one nation government is committed to making work pay and making sure hardworking people get the salary they are entitled to.”
A new team of compliance officers in HMRC will investigate the most serious cases of employers not paying the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage when it is introduced in April 2016.
The team will have the power to use all available sanctions, including penalties, prosecutions and naming and shaming the most exploitative employers.
The enforcement budget for the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage will also be increased in 2016/17. Future budgets will be agreed as part of the Spending Review process.
Employers who fail to pay staff at least the minimum wage they are legally entitled to will have to pay double what they do now. This reform is intended to increase compliance and make sure those who break the law face tough consequences.
The calculation of penalties on those who do not comply will rise from 100 per cent of arrears to 200 per cent. This will be halved if employers pay within 14 days. The overall maximum penalty of £20,000 per worker remains unchanged.
A new Director of Labour Market Enforcement and Exploitation will be created to oversee enforcement of the National Minimum Wage, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (a non-departmental public body of the Home Office). The Director will set priorities for enforcement based on a single view of the intelligence about exploitation and non-compliance.
A consultation will be launched in the Autumn on the introduction of a new offence of aggravated breach of labour market legislation. The consultation will also propose giving the Gangmasters Licensing Authority additional investigatory powers and a wider remit to tackle serious labour exploitation more effectively.
The Government has also announced today it will improve the guidance and support made available to firms on compliance and will work with payroll providers to be sure payroll software contains checks that staff are being paid what they are entitled to.
Notes to editors
1. HMRC currently enforces the National Minimum Wage on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
2. It currently conducts a programme of targeted enforcement, proactively focusing on high-risk sectors. It is currently engaged in activity in the social care, hairdressing and retail sectors.
3. In 2013, the Department introduced a policy of naming non-compliant employers. Since then, 285 employers, who have owed over £788,000 in arrears, have been charged over £325k in penalties. HMRC puts forward the most serious cases of non-compliance to the Crown Prosecution Service for prosecution.
4. In 2014/15, HMRC investigated 2,204 cases; found arrears in 735 cases for 26,318 workers totalling over £3.29m; charged over £934k in penalties.
5. The current National Minimum Wage rates are:
· adult rate (21 and over) - £6.50 per hour
· 18 to 20-year olds - £5.13 per hour
· 16 to 17-year olds - £3.79 per hour
· apprentice rate - £2.73 per hour
The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 years and those aged 19 years and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for their age.