MP fights butcher’s corner over pay issue

MP Peter Bottomley ENGSUS00120131012172206
MP Peter Bottomley ENGSUS00120131012172206

AN MP is fighting a Government decision to name and shame a butcher for failing to pay a member of staff the minimum wage.

Tarring butcher Shannons Ltd, in South Street, was among 37 businesses ‘named and shamed’ by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last week.

But Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley insisted the owner was a ‘good man’ who was placed on the list inappropriately.

He said: “This is not the case of a rogue employer and there is no justification for naming and shaming.

“In this unfortunate case, the technical issue was concluded over 18 months ago. There was never an intention to underpay a person who accepted an apprenticeship position.”

Sir Peter, who spoke to the Herald on behalf of the butcher, said he was seeking talks with business minister Jo Swinson to clarify the issue.

He added: “I am asking for the minister to withdraw this name and if they will not I will ask to see the Prime Minister.

“If there was a slip, it was inadvertent and corrected more than a year ago and put right completely.”

The naming initiative is part of the Government’s attempt to crack down on employers failing to pay their workers in line with legal guidelines.

Since coming into force in October last year, a total of 55 employers have been named.

Total arrears add up to £139,000, with an additional £60,000 of financial penalties handed out.

The department said Shannons had neglected to pay one worker £313.76.

The minister said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.

“If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action by naming, shaming and fining them, as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them.”

The minimum wage currently stands at £6.50 per hour for adults over the age of 21. The minimum decreases depending on the age of the employee and includes a minimum for apprentices.