Scandal! Scandal!

Large numbers of employers are it seems now in the habit of shortchanging their staff as a deliberate strategy to increase profits. At least 2 million workers a year in the UK are being cheated of pay they are owed. This estimate of the scale of wages theft comes from a new report from researchers at Middlesex University, which puts the value of the lost pay at over £3bn a year.

Clearly, this should not happen. But, as ever, how important is it?

There’re some 30 million in work, average wage is £25,000 (both rough estimates). Total UK wages are some £750 billion a year. £3 billion is fiddled.

0.4% then.

Is this higher or lower than the rate of benefits fiddles which we must not, under any circumstances, worry about?

20 thoughts on “Scandal! Scandal!”

  1. ‘Two million people betrayed every year, their rights undefended’

    Got a link for that, Felicity?

    Extrapolated anecdata.

    She wants universal unionization, and will say anything to get it.

  2. It,s a marginal thing, Worstall; not part of your world.
    Commonplace at the bottom, though.
    It costs me a LOT of money helping such people out and I can assure you that Lawrence tells it pretty much like it is.

  3. Glad you are here Hugh.

    Given that socialism has-so far-robbed 150 million human beings of their lives (I think you’ll concede that to be a matter just a tad more serious than low level cash fraud) can you detail your plans to spend your own money to help anti-socialist activists everywhere?

    If it is a good plan I am quite willing to kick in some cash myself.

  4. The idea that people should honour contracts is not invalidated by a slew of socialist shitbags pretending they agree.

  5. I really can’t be bothered reading the article, but I do wonder whether “2 million workers a year in the UK…being cheated of pay they are owed” means either (a) the contracts they voluntarily signed are being breached or (b) the writer thinks they should earn more than they actually do.

    Anyone betting?

  6. The Unused Testicle

    There are two sorts of evil companies according to the Guardian.

    Those that pay their staff too little and therefore make bigger profits.

    Those that pay their staff too much and make smaller profits.

    The conclusion is, of course, that the Gruan doesn’t like any companies at all.

  7. The Unused Testicle

    Oh, just remembered; wasn’t it the Graun that advertised for interns to work for them for free to gain valuable experience?

    I missed that option – don’t pay your staff at all and still lose money…

  8. @Andrew Duffin

    a) and b) are not mutually exclusive.

    I really can’t be bothered reading the article
    Nor can I usually, but did on this occasion.

    I’ve seen and experienced the petty cheating and “theft” that goes on.

    At 16, my second job(1) was working in an “up market fast food restaurant”, what would now be a gastro pub. Management regularly changed their own rules regarding overtime and allocation of tips.

    It was a theme which would continue into my full time professional career in IT.
    * Being bullied into (always unpaid) overtime
    * Being denied promotion / pay rises
    * Having holiday cancelled at the last minute
    * “Losing” holiday allowance
    * Not being paid for public holidays
    * Having agreed OTE remuneration rescinded (after doing the work)
    * Having working conditions unilaterally changed
    * Being bullied into resigning
    * Being unpaid
    * Being harrassed at home / on holiday
    * Having itemised expenses denied

    Now that I think back on it, I could go on and on. But all these were done when I was far younger and far less experienced, which is why the companies explicitly not mentioned in the article can still get away with it; youth is inexperienced and defenceless against it.

    And I’ve seen it again recently this year, with child #1 complaining about his own employment with a high street burger chain.

    God help any employer that tried anything like that again with me. I can and would tear them a new arsehole; 20+ years of contracting gives a whole new toolset to work with.

    (1) Excluding freelance computer programming and hardware installation.


    Don’t know about Felicity, but my experiences are all (cheerfully) anecdata.

  9. No plan, Mr. Ecks, just daily relief of the destitute, hand to hand.
    The company gets the labour and we take care of the overheads. Quite an advance on chattel slavery.

  10. I’m sure that it happens *much* more than it used to do since the invention of the minimum wage. I noted that the example that The Grauniad quoted involved the employer going bankrupt so not being able to pay up when sued!
    There are “lots of occasions” – OK, a dozen times – when I’ve not been paid for work I’ve done: mostly because it is an occupational hazard of self-employment, but Ms Lawrence has one, just one, valid point – that it matters a damn sight more to those at the bottom of the heap than those who take up self-employment because they are deemed “too old” to be hired with >£100k in net assets so able to survive being rooked of £10-50k in earnings.

  11. Still small bananas compared to murder Hugh.

    If you want renewed chattel slavery Libya is the place to go.

    The one line description of your business model still sounds rather odd. Somebody else gets the profits but you take the costs? Even socialism isn’t that daft. The Party takes the benefits and everybody else takes the costs is their M.O.

    Are you a Vicar ?

  12. Young people getting fucked over is nothing new – in fact the low wages are part of it. That’s what it takes to give people the drive to better themselves. If you started in a well paid, easy job at 16 you’d never feel motivated to move on. Get shafted and you soon do.

    In the past, if you were crap at killing your food you’d soon starve – so you’d have to lick the arses of the alpha males so they fed you until you could fuck them over and take all their pussy for yourself.

  13. Thinking back on 29 years in the official workforce I cannot recall any instance of being robbed of pay by an employer.

    That’s probably in excess of 50 different employers in that time – some were very short term, some much longer, some 2nd job, some 3rd job.

    Yes employer going under is a situation where staff don’t get paid at the time. Because there’s usually nothing to pay with until later – mostly friends that have been under that have got pay eventually as staff wages do rank higher than other creditors.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    I’m sympathetic to that cause because I don’t like the idea of the young and ooor getting fucked over by employers, not least because it will teach them to be utter bastards in their turn if they think it’s the norm.

    The article is appallingly written and nothing more than regurgitated anecdotes and the link she provides is to an event that took part today, not a report with facts and figures. Until that report and data is made public I’m going to treat it like Spud’s tax gap. As has been said, it looks like it covers all sorts of sins like employers going bust and wishful thinking that everyone should be on the same T&Cs as Guardian journalists.

  15. Payroll can be complicated. Mistakes are made. CM scum takes the leap to ‘shortchanging their staff as a deliberate strategy to increase profits.’

    ‘At least 2 million workers a year in the UK are being cheated of pay they are owed.’

    A number pulled out of someone’s arse.

    CM scum interviews people and asks them leading questions about what shits their employers are. Respondents tell them what shits their employers are. Article is CM propaganda.

  16. ‘The government appointed a director of labour market enforcement for the first time this year and has also heard from an independent review of modern working practices.’

    Incoherent. No editor?

    So the national government – via a ‘director of labour market enforcement’ – will get involved in pay disputes. And business will move to India.

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