Takeaway’s low wages shame

The Sweet 'n' Sour food outlet
The Sweet 'n' Sour food outlet

A Fleetwood business has been named and shamed for failing to pay its workers the minimum wage.

And community leaders have slammed the business for failing to pay its staff the minimum required by law.

Chinese food outlet Sweet ’n’ Sour, on Beach Road, was found to have owed two employees £11,039 because it was under-paying them.

The takeaway business is registered under the name of Ms Thap Thi Ly.

Coun Terry Rogers, chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, said: “It’s very disappointing that in 2015, some people are still ignoring the law and not paying their staff the minimum wage.

“People are struggling enough without having to be underpaid.

“This particular business seems to be busy and well used so it’s hard to understand why this has happened.”

The Department for Business, Skills and Innovation refused to reveal the hourly pay of the workers, but said claims can only go back six years. Someone earning minimum pay now takes home almost £13,200 per year – making the amount owed to them close to a year’s pay.

Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “I fully support naming and shaming of employers who fail to pay at least the National Minimum Wage.

“It’s now more than 15 years since Labour introduced the minimum wage, so ignorance is no excuse.

“I believe passionately that everyone is entitled to fair pay.”

And Wyre Council leader, Coun Peter Gibson, said: “I know these are difficult times for traders, but all businesses should pay at least the minimum wage.

“I would never condone it when businesses don’t, and not to do it is against the law of the land.”

Fleetwood Chamber of Trade chairman, Derek Eaton, added: “Businesses need to stick to the current laws.”

HM Revenue and Customs revealed Sweet ’n’ Sour was one of six North West employers, among 37 nationally, exposed for breaching UK pay rules.Their identities were revealed by Business Minister Jo Swinson.

Collectively, the 37 firms were revealed to owe workers more than £177,000, and have been charged penalties totalling more than £51,000. The investigation was launched after workers made complaints to the free and confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline.

Ms Swinson 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 pay owed to them.

“We are also looking at what more we can do to make sure workers are paid fairly. Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage face penalties of up to £20,000.”

No one was available for comment at Sweet ‘n’ Sour.