Staff underpaid

1
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It’s quite remarkable how 
different events can be reinterpreted and spun by different 
interests. Your report (5 November) on a tribunal ruling that hundreds of thousands of British workers should have had their regular or compulsory overtime included in the calculation of their holiday pay produces a predictable threat from the Federation of Small Businesses that, if forced to pay up, maybe 30,000 Scottish firms could be forced to cut jobs or close sites to meet costs.

Another way of looking at it is that the ruling implies some of these companies have failed to pay their workers what they were due for years – a cheap labour connivance (in addition to the government subsidy of tax credits that enables workers to perform jobs which fail to pay a living wage) more appropriate to sweatshops in Bangladesh than the UK.

In fact, the main losers in this battle to suppress wages are not the small businesses but large public employers like the police and fire services and various wings of civil service and local authority services where overtime working is indeed, literally, compulsory.

For that reason our “we’re all in it together” government can be relied upon to appeal against the ruling to every court in the land, and beyond, while accepting an “unavoidable” pay rise of 10 per cent for MPs next year, of course.

David Fiddimore

Calton Road

Edinburgh

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