According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), five million workers across the UK’s supply chains are at risk of being cheated out of holiday pay and minimum wage entitlements.
They said that workers at outsourcing companies, recruitment agencies and franchises are more vulnerable because they often can’t challenge the parent employer if they don’t receive their employee benefits.
Frances O’Grady, TUC’s general secretary said that millions of workers from construction works to fast food workers find that they can’t challenge the parent companies over workplace injustices.
3.3 million workers are employed through outsourced companies in the UK. 615,000 are employed through franchise businesses and 1 million are employed through recruitment agencies and umbrella companies.
O’Grady said: “Employers have a duty of care to workers in their supply chains. They shouldn’t be allowed to wash their hands of their responsibilities.
“Joint liability must be extended to parent employers. Without it they can shrug their shoulders over minimum wage and holiday pay abuses.”
The TUC have called on the UK government to take after Australia’s Fair Work Act. Under this act, holding companies and franchisors can be held jointly responsible if their franchisees or subsidiaries are not following workplace laws.
Ignoring the National Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is increasing after the new tax year, so that workers aged 25 and over will now be entitled to at least £7.83 an hour. This is up from £7.50.
However, some employers are failing to meet this legal requirement. Just last month 179 companies have been fined for not paying workers minimum wage.
They include the hotel group Marriott and the food chains TGI Fridays and Wagamama.
A new report from the TUC has said that more than half a million employees are being paid below the national minimum wage. They also say that 2 million workers are not receiving the legal minimum holiday entitlement which is worth £1.6 billion per year.
The government say they’re already proposing “enhanced rights and protections” for workers.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement: “Under the package of proposals, all 1.2 million agency workers will be able to request a more stable contract and receive a clear breakdown of their pay. We are also considering repealing laws allowing agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.”
What do you think of workers losing minimum wage and holiday pay? Would you like to see more done about it? Please share your thoughts.