Charity calls for crackdown on “horrible bosses”

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Citizens Advice Scotland backs new body to uphold workers' rights.

23rd September 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A charity is calling for a new organisation to enforce workers’ rights across Scotland.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said its advisors regularly deal with cases where “horrible bosses” exploit their employees, either through underpaying them or breaching workplace rights such as paid holidays or maternity leave.

In a submission to the Low Pay Commission, the charity highlighted malpractice from across Scotland, such as three EU nationals who were paid just £150 per week for up to 80 hours of labour before being fired when they challenged their employer.

In another case, a client continued to be paid at a previous minimum wage rate despite raising the matter with his boss on multiple occasions. Other workers are not getting updated minimum wage rates, or are regularly forced to work unpaid overtime.

A charity is calling for a new organisation to enforce workers’ rights across Scotland.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said its advisors regularly deal with cases where “horrible bosses” exploit their employees, either through underpaying them or breaching workplace rights such as paid holidays or maternity leave.

In a submission to the Low Pay Commission, the charity highlighted malpractice from across Scotland, such as three EU nationals who were paid just £150 per week for up to 80 hours of labour before being fired when they challenged their employer.

In another case, a client continued to be paid at a previous minimum wage rate despite raising the matter with his boss on multiple occasions. Other workers are not getting updated minimum wage rates, or are regularly forced to work unpaid overtime.

CAS is now backing a new body to have the powers to investigate National Minimum Wage breaches along with allowing workers to confidentially report things like breaches of their maternity, holiday, sickness, pay, dismissal, redundancy and other rights.

The call comes after a recent report from the Resolution Foundation revealed that one in twenty workers do not have access to paid holidays.

Citizens Advice social justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green said: “It’s clear from clients across Scotland who are contacting Citizens Advice Bureaux that there are employers who are still ripping off workers.

“We help hundreds of thousands of people each year and employment matters have always been one of the biggest issues coming through our doors, but the scale of some of the behaviour still shocks us.

“Cases involving those working in hospitality or retail appear to be particularly common as well as cases involving workers from outwith the UK who, in some instances, have been paid considerably below the minimum wage.

“The creation of a national organisation to enforce employment laws would stamp out illegal work practices and uphold the rights of workers who are simply doing their honest day’s work.”

CAS said workers should be wary of being paid cash in hand or not receiving written payslips. Any employees worried about their pay or workplace rights are urged to visit their local Citizens Advice Bureau for help.