More than a dozen Scottish firms have been named and shamed for failing to pay workers the national minimum wage, in the UK’s biggest exposé.
Social care firm Crossroads Caring Scotland – Clackmannan was the worst offender north of the Border, with the UK government revealing it failed to pay a total of £17,685 to 40 staff.
Hospitality, retail, and hairdressing companies featured heavily among those underpaying staff, with Peacock Stores in Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway owing 42 workers £2,256, and John Preston of Sculpture hairdressing in Glasgow owing a single staff member £1,537. St Mirren FC also made the list, having failed to pay one worker £1,277.
In total, the 16 firms owed 125 workers £29,611.
Across the UK, more than 350 companies were named for failing to pay minimum rates. Excuses included using tips to top up pay, docking wages to pay for a staff Christmas party and making staff pay for their own uniforms out of their salary.
The national minimum hourly rate ranges from £3.40 for apprentices and £4 for under 18s to £7.20 for people aged 25 and over.
Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop said: “There are simply no excuses for employers who fail to play by the rules and pay employees what they are entitled to.
“We are committed to building an economy that works for everyone and will ensure that everybody receives the national living wage.”
Tony Fitzpatrick, chief executive of St Mirren Football Club, said: “I don’t know why we are on the list. All of this was dealt with some time ago. It must have been before we came in or before the takeover.”
Unions welcomed the announcement, but called for more prosecutions – there have been just 13 since 2007.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This should be a wake-up call for employers who value their reputation. If you cheat your staff out of the minimum wage, you will be named and shamed.
“But we also need to see prosecutions and higher fines for the most serious offenders, especially those who deliberately flout the law.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This list fails to shame the larger care firms who are equally guilty of denying staff a fair wage.
“Those in the spotlight today are just the tip of the iceberg.
“HM Revenue & Customs needs to get much tougher with more inspections to identify scrooge employers.”
And Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The government needs to crack down … The fact that the government has mounted only 13 prosecutions for non-compliance since 2007 is pathetic.