Evil damn capitalists paying less than minimum wage!

Jail them! Jail them!

Britain’s biggest independent co-op has made the highest single payout to a worker for breaching low pay laws and is examining whether 200 others may have been paid below the minimum wage, the Guardian can reveal.

Midcounties Co-op, which turned over £1.2bn last year, underpaid a newspaper delivery man for four years by more than £14,000 and has also paid more than £4,000 in missing wages and expenses to another delivery worker, who claimed he earned as little as 69p per hour on some days.

The payouts come after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) pursued the complaints of two newspaper deliverymen about what they were being paid by the UK’s largest independent co-op, which trumpets its desire to create “a better, fairer world”.


Of course, this is a co-op, there are no capitalists here. Bit of a bugger that for the SJWs, no?

And it’s much, much, more interesting than it seems. This is a newspaper delivery round – or at least newspaper delivery. Being done on a piece rate. So wages aren’t paid by the hour at all, but by the work done. At which point:

After an internal review overseen by an HMRC low pay inspector, the co-op has admitted that it failed to take into account how much Sharpe’s disability slowed down his round.

His disability makes him less productive. His pay must be by the hours he works, not per his productivity. What is this going to mean for the employment prospects of people with such disabilities?

Answers on a postcard to the Job Centre please.

24 thoughts on “Evil damn capitalists paying less than minimum wage!”

  1. ““I have not been treated reasonably or fairly,” he wrote in a letter seen by the Guardian. “I accept that no one from management would knowingly try to employ an adult on 69p an hour and that this is a legacy issue related to pay and conditions more appropriate for schoolchildren doing short local paper rounds before school … The value of the Co-op’s brand is that it trades ethically. I hope that it will be seen that meeting my request is small beer when compared with protecting the value of the brand.””

    Do him for (moral) blackmail.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    I thought it had been settled some time ago that in order to encourage more employment of the disabled the State would pick up the incremental costs caused by that disability? If it wasn’t, it needs to be.

  3. Noel, and of course the main beneficiary of the minimum wage is HMRC, so that’s 10% of Fair Tax Mark holders caught “evading” PAYE and employer’s NIC.

  4. To deliver newspapers I’d be looking at probably less than 69p an hour now. Last time I did it the round payment was based on xx hours for the job times minimum wage. If I did it in half the time or double the time the pay was the same. And on a self employed basis.
    As this guy was presumably an employee then yes the time should have been taken into account. If he was self employed then no.

  5. this is a legacy issue related to pay and conditions more appropriate for schoolchildren doing short local paper rounds before school

    Can someone refresh my memory? Why is it that schoolchildren no longer do paper rounds before school?

    Were the SJWs that put the kibosh on that, the same ones now bleating about childhood obesity, I wonder?

  6. Martin said:
    “As this guy was presumably an employee then yes the time should have been taken into account. If he was self employed then no.”

    I’ve not looked, but it’s common in these situations for the employment status to be part of the HMRC investigation. So he could have been regarded as self-employed, with a contract that said he was, but HMRC could have re-categorised him as an employee as a preliminary to applying the minimum wage rules.

  7. They don’t tell us which fine newspaper these fine people were delivering. Gotsta be duh Guardian. Which is not at fault. No need to mention the Guardian because it’s not at fault.

  8. Rob: my newsagent delivers the papers himself – he can’t get anybody interested in doing the work for the amount he can afford to charge his customers. (If he pays enough to attract workers he loses customers who won’t pay the increased charges)

  9. @John Square
    No, the 69p/hour is the net after petrol, road tax and motor insurance costs because a 69-year-old diabetic needs a car to deliver a paper round that a teenage boy would walk (or run) in the time.
    Petrol is certainly a justified cost – I doubt the tax and insurance are affected by whether or not he delivers papers.

  10. @Rob My local paper shop (Co-op Midshires, by coincidence) delivers. I think you have to pay, over and above the price of the paper, for the privilege. I get mine off the web 🙂

  11. As fewer people have papers delivered, I assume the area a ’round’ has to cover is now much larger. Even so, doing it in a car…stop, get out, get in, start, drive 20 yards, stop, get out…

  12. A quick search online reveals that people in the southeast typically pay 50p per day for newspaper delivery. Assuming no margin for the newsagent, that means delivering 14.4 papers per hour – one every four minutes – to reach minimum wage. Should be easy enough with a bicycle, if the round isn’t too spread out.

  13. From one of the pieces I recall that it was 18 p to the deliverer per paper per day. Not great. But if I were on JSA I know what I and my bike would be doing for an hour or two each morning.

  14. If you think newspaper deliverers are poorly paid, you should see what lamplighters and crossing sweepers make.

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