Workers across Newham ‘underpaid by millions of pounds every year’

Sir Robin Wales with Paul Kenny

Sir Robin Wales with Paul Kenny - Credit: Archant

Workers across the borough are underpaid by millions of pounds every year - according to a report published by the council.

Newham Council are lobbying for the rights to be give additional power to enforce national minimum wage after a report found £38.2million is underpaid to workers across the borough every year.

The council, in partnership with GMB trade union, is demanding that the government allows local authorities to use their local knowledge to tackle exploitative businesses who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage.

The report, called Pay By The Rules, shows that 17 percent of working residents are paid below minimum wage and that underpaid workers lose an average of £2,260 per annum.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales said: “This report clearly demonstrates that central government has been woefully inadequate at protecting workers from exploitative businesses who, in the majority of cases, are wilfully breaking the law.

“Local authorities have the interests of their residents at heart, and are best placed to identify rogue businesses. We’re already aware of companies that flout licensing, planning, trading standards and waste rules and are able to take action.”

The report also showed that UK workers are losing £533 million to employers who are ignoring the law.

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“With additional powers to tackle underpayment of NMW, councils could make a substantial difference to residents’ lives. All we need is a government who are willing to act to improve the lives people nationwide.”