West of England workers employed by WH Smith, M & S and Argos are among hundreds of people who were shortchanged by their bosses.
A list of companies has been published by HMRC that names and shames businesses for failing to pay their workers the minimum wage. More than 200 face penalties of nearly £7million and must reimburse workers for breaches dating back over a decade.
WH Smith was the worst offender, having failed to pay more than £1m to over 17,000 workers.
Other companies include Bristol’s Mack Daddys on Gloucester Road which shut its doors last year. Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who is ‘waging’ a campaign against poverty pay in a bid to protect workers during a cost-of-living crisis, blasted the companies as he launched a fresh appeal for firms to sign his Good Employment Charter – including pledging to pay staff a ‘Real Living Wage’.
He said: “No matter what job you do, everyone deserves to be paid properly for their work. As a Jobs First Mayor, where there are employers who are taking the mick, and expect staff to contend with poverty pay and bad working conditions, I will always call them out. But during this cost-of-living crisis, I want all companies to do what is right by their workers, and that means paying a real living wage.”
Currently, more than 15% of the region’s workforce earn less than a Real Living Wage, which is £10.90 an hour outside of London, with an estimated 11,000 workers on zero-hours contracts.