Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Making sure workers are paid fairly - no excuses not to pay up

The National Minimum Wage is even more important to families in a global economic downturn..

Everyone should earn a fair wage for a fair day's work - there is no excuse not to pay up. And there were two welcome bits of news this week that will be a boost to workers in Crewe and Nantwich.

The Government has said that it wants to change the current minimum wage rules on tipping so that in the future, tips will be in addition to the Minimum Wage.

For me, this is a matter of fairness and common sense. When you go to a restaurant or to have a hair cut and leave a tip, you expect it to go to the staff on top of their pay, not to be put through the payroll to make up the Minimum Wage.

This action on tips will benefit workers throughout Crewe and Nantwich, people we all rely on, but who sometimes don’t have the strongest voice.

And as part of Labours crackdown on those who try to exploit workers, tough new penalties for employers who underpay their staff have been made law.

I have campaigned for tougher action on rogue employers who con their staff. It has now become law. This will mean that the tough new penalties come into force in April. There could be unlimited fines for the most serious cases rather than the current maximum limit of £5,000. It will also mean a fairer way of dealing with national minimum wage arrears, calculated so workers do not lose out.

But to make sure people are getting the National Minimum Wage rogue employers need to be exposed. If you think a rogue employer is not paying up then get in touch with me on 07798 696 603 or call the national minimum wage helpline on 0845 6000 678. And don't worry, you don’t have to give your name or details to them if you don't want to.

This year marks 10 years since Labour voted to introduce the National Minimum Wage in 1998. When it came in ten years ago people like David Cameron strongly opposed it.

I'm proud that, while the Tories opposed the minimum wage and still criticise it, our Labour Government is taking steps to strengthen it – ensuring that working people know their rights and employers know their responsibilities.

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