Firm named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage - The Leamington Observer

Firm named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage

A MEAT supply firm which has its UK headquarters in Warwick has been named and shamed as the worst offender in the West Midlands for failing to pay the minimum wage.

A total of 524 businesses across the UK have been found to have failed to pay their workers nearly £16million in a clear breach of the National Minimum Wage law, leaving over 172,000 workers out of pocket.

Those named in the list have since paid back what they owe to their staff and have also faced financial penalties of up to 200 per cent of their underpayment. The investigations by HMRC took place between between 2015 and 2023.

In the West Midlands, 51 companies were named in the list with Pilgrim’s Pride (formerly known as Tulip) paying back the most in the region.

The Warwick Technology Park-based firm has had to repay more than 2,600 workers their share of £597,000.

Major pub operator Mitchells and Butlers has repaid £565,000 to more than 16,000 workers, while food manufacturer Kane Foods which is the largest private employer in Worcestershire has paid back £563,000 to just over 1,100 staff.

Dignity Funerals, acquired by Phoenix Asset Management Partners’ for £789million last year, has repaid £163,000 to 156 of its staff.

It comes as the National Living Wage is set to increase by 9.8 per cent to £11.44 an hour on April 1, as announced in November’s Autumn statement.

Minister for enterprise, markets and small business, Kevin Hollinrake, said: “Employees deserve to get paid properly for the hard work they put in.

“While the majority of businesses already do the right thing and pay their staff what they are owed, today’s announcement sends a message to the minority who aren’t – that there are repercussions to undercutting hard work from their staff.”

A spokesperson for Pilgrim’s UK said the company had acted swiftly to rectify the matter

“Following a review of historic payroll practices with HMRC, it was identified a proportion of colleagues were unintentionally underpaid according to national minimum wage guidance. As soon as this was identified, action was taken to quickly rectify the error to ensure all colleagues affected were repaid at the time.”

The American multi-national Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation is the largest food company in the world. It farms, processes, prepares, packages and delivers fresh and frozen meat products for sale in more than 100 countries.

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