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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 October 2010

Paying below the minimum

WE HEARD a lot at the New Labour conference in Manchester about the party's 'proud record' for working people. One of the 'jewels in Labour's crown' was said to be the minimum wage, introduced in 1999.

It's recently gone up from £5.80 to £5.93 an hour - wow! What are we going to do with all that extra cash? However, there are thousands of employers who don't even pay this paltry minimum.

Last June, optician Benjiman Gains was fined for failing to pay the minimum rate to four of his workers at his two shops, BG Optical on Breck Road and County Road in Liverpool.

Gains, who paid his staff up to 40% less than they were entitled to, was ordered to pay a £3,696 fine.

He had provided workers with annual contracts based on salaries that appeared to be close to the minimum wage rates but he had altered the staff members' actual rates of pay by back-dating contracts to show different hours of work. He had also removed staff entitlement to paid meal breaks.

What are we to make of this?

Firstly, Mr Gains has lived up to his name and made a mint for a while. A fine of less than £4,000 is a very unfunny joke.

Secondly, it turns out that this is only the seventh prosecution of an employer for failing to pay the minimum rate - in eleven years! A record to be proud of indeed - if you are on the side of the bosses!

Paul Gerrard, Salford Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 6 October 2010:


Defend Child Benefits

Tories turn clock back


Socialist Students

Students must fight back

Campaigning Socialist Students win support

YFJ and PCS unite against cuts in Leeds


Socialist Party editorial

National Shop Stewards Network and the struggle against Con-Dem attacks

National conference called against cuts in jobs and services


Anti-cuts campaign

No excuses for not fighting cuts

Thousands tell Tories: 'No cuts'

Paying below the minimum

Bristol MPs fail to answer young workers' anger at PCS debate

Meetings and protests against the cuts

Labour councillor's contempt for care centre users

Save Buttercups nursery

Protests on October 23 to fight the government's spending review axe

News in brief


Socialist Party workplace news

Solid strike by Tube workers

Time to strengthen RMT's fighting leadership

Support TSG strike


Health and Safety

Warning: this government could seriously damage your safety


Europe: fighting the cuts

Spain: workers demonstrate their strength

Ireland: a socialist alternative to the crisis

Portuguese workers win the promise of a general strike

Internationalism against austerity: 100,000 demonstrate in Belgium


Socialism 2010

Why you should come to Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010 - a weekend of discussion and debate


International socialist analysis

Chávez wins majority but right-wing gains ground


Socialist Party review

Made in Dagenham


Anti-racism

Nuneaton: community must organise against racism

Leicester: action needed against EDL

Campaign defeats BNP in Stroud


 

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