Aftermarket firms that’ve failed to pay living wage named

Aftermarket firms were found to owe employees tens of thousands in unpaid wages – one alone more than £15,000 – as businesses were publicly named and shamed by the government.

Ten firms, from independents to big companies, were all found to have unpaid employees – and ordered to repay. The timespan of the offences was not disclosed.

It comes a quarter of a century since the National Minimum Wage was introduced in the UK and which, from April, rises by just under 10% to £11.44.

One of those, McCarthy MOT Centre of Newbury, was charged after failing to pay £15,317 to five workers. It declined to comment when approached by CAT.

Euro Garage of Stockport was another to be found guilty, failing to pay two workers a combined £7208.

Owner Michael Marshall was open about the charge. He told CAT he felt it pretty unfair to be named and shamed, confirming the offence dated back some 10 years ago. ”It is all a bit upsetting,” he said.

Marshall said the issue stems from a local college encouraging him to take on one apprentice to help the youngster gain some work experience and “pay him what you can” he alleges.

This arrangement was fully agreed and accepted by both parties, it’s claimed, and worked fine until Marshall had to let him go due to a lack of work; this is when the repercussions resulted, he told CAT.

Marshall said Euro Garage is a sole trader only charging £50 (plus VAT) labour charges and in common with many other workshops in a similar situation which are facing squeezed margins and increasing overheads, is contemplating shutting up shop in five years time.

The majority of other published traders CAT contacted were unwilling to comment.

One that did was JD Performance of King’s Lynn. The firm claims to have suffered a similar plight to EG which occurred some six years ago.

Proprietor Paul Jones told CAT he also doesn’t understand why this has all come to light years later and flouting the law “certainly wasn’t intentional”.

The company said it took on a young worker on a “come-and-you-go” part-time basis. But despite all parties being entirely happy with the arrangement, HMRC became involved.

“The fact that he was seen wearing a hoodie with a company logo on it meant, in HMRC eyes, he was fully employed,” said Jones.

It wasn’t just small independents which fell foul of the law. Large second-hand car concerns and main dealers were also fingered including perhaps the biggest name of all, British Car Auctions (BCA), who failed to pay £7469.99 to 442 workers.

Apart from the top rate of pay for those over 21 (previously over 23) increasing to £11.44, other living wage changes coming into effect this April include: 18-20 £8.60 (£7.49) and under 18 plus apprentices £6.40 (£5.28). Workers who suspect they are being underpaid can visit gov.uk/checkyourpay plus can also call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 or visit the outfit’s website.

Full list of named aftermarket firms

  • McCarthy MOT Centre Limited, Newbury, RG14, failed to pay £15,317.52 to 5 workers
  • Euro Garage Ltd, Stockport, SK4, failed to pay £7208.08 to 2 workers
  • Barlow Motors Limited, Wolverhampton, WV6, failed to pay £6772.96 to 25 workers.
  • Silah Garages Limited, Stockport, SK3, failed to pay £2292.43 to 1 worker
  • Holbeach Motors Ltd, Spalding, PE12, failed to pay £1900.62 to 1 worker
  • Richford Motor Services Limited, Alfreton, DE55, failed to pay £1520.00 to 34 workers
  • JD Garage & Performance Centre Ltd, Kings Lynn, PE30, failed to pay £1124.46 to 1 worker
  • J D Motor Company (Nottingham) Ltd, Nottingham, NG9, failed to pay £940.60 to 1 worker
  • A N A Garage & M O T Services Limited, Rochdale, OL11, failed to pay £744.99 to 1 worker
  • The Motor Company PPS Limited, Leicester, LE3, failed to pay £713.85 to 1 worker

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