THE Hong Kong studio of architecture firm RMJM is facing a legal claim from 15 current and former employees who allege they are owed £100,000 in unpaid wages and expenses.
If the claim is successful and RMJM refuses to pay the money owed within a deadline, the claimants could ask the court to enforce the judgment and the firm could face penalties including bailiffs seizing company goods and a petition for the firm to be placed in liquidation.
The Hong Kong Labour Tribunal is to hear the case next month, after issuing the Edinburgh-based firm with a fine over late payment last year.
Hong Kong enforces a strict seven-day limit on payment of salaries and, if successful, the current claim could result in RMJM being ordered to pay the amount in full.
Wilful non-payment of salaries is a criminal offence in Hong Kong for which the penalties include the imprisonment of company directors.
In a statement to Building magazine, the group behind the claim said RMJM Hong Kong had “a history of late payments over the last 18 months” with some as much as three months’ overdue.
“All claimants are suffering financial distress as a result of the neglect of the employer,” said the statement.
“On numerous occasions, the employer has given written, text message and verbal assurances that payments would be made ‘soon’ but has repeatedly failed to do so.”
A spokesman for RMJM said: “We’re confident these issues will be resolved quickly. It’s a matter of profound regret when salaries are not paid on time.”