The government fined a hotel group controlled by billionaire tax exile, Sir James Ratcliffe, along with 138 “rogue employers” who failed to pay minimum wages to their employees.
Ratcliffe, whose net worth is estimated at £ 12 billion, owns 55% of Home Grown Hotels, a boutique group he co-founded with Robin Hutson, the hotelier who built and He sold the Hotel du Vin chain and is the former president of member club Soho House.
Their actions were included in the list of national minimum wage violators published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on Thursday, as the ministry reintroduced a policy of “naming and shaming” companies that illegally paid employees low wages.
As mentioned in BEIS’s first list for two years it was the UK’s largest private sector employer Tesco – An announcement that coincided with former CEO Dave Lewis being named a knight on the New Year’s Honors list – and the restaurant chain Pizza Hut.
Business Secretary Paul Scully said, “Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to switch workers, but it is especially disappointing to see huge family names that should be better known on this list.”
The most recent violator appeal – which showed that 139 specific companies had failed to pay a total of £ 6.7 million to more than 95,000 workers – covers the investigations between September 2016 and July 2018, a period when compliance with minimum wages was notable news after Investigate the secret guardian That revealed how Sports Direct was paid workers below the statutory minimum.
Ratcliffe made his fortune in the petrochemical industry by founding Ineos and became a well-known, if sometimes controversial, figure in the business world.
He caught public attention for the first time after he threatened to shut down Grangemouth Petrochemical plant In 2013 and paid Great retreat by the United Syndicate – But it has made headlines since then The withdrawal from Britain is tax-free in Monaco, To become a prominent Brexit supporter and He acquired Team Sky cycling and renamed Team Ineos.
BEIS stated that Home Grown Hotels in Ratcliffe failed to pay £ 13,790 to 25 workers, which the company said was related to “unintended violations of very complex regulations” after “deductions made for staff accommodation and consolidated deposits”.
A company spokeswoman said the company had paid compensation to the employees, fined HMRC £ 6,000 and that Ratcliffe “had no role in the day-to-day running of the company”.
She added: “[Co-founder] Robin Hutson was completely satisfied with the prompt approach taken by the company accounts and human resources teams and sympathetic to how such a mistake would go wrong with the ever-changing work hours by employees in the hospitality sector. HMRC’s guidance on this component is complex, and the hospitality industry is not as straightforward as other companies due to inconsistent business hours from month to month. “
A Tesco spokeswoman, who BEIS said it paid less than 78,199 workers for a total of £ 5.1 million, said: “In 2017, we identified a technical issue which meant that some colleagues’ salaries were inadvertently falling below the national minimum wage. We deeply regret that this happened The matter and HMRC proactively informed us of the issue at the time. All of our colleagues were fully compensated and we promptly changed our policies to prevent this from happening again. In most cases, the payment was £ 10 or less. Once this error was detected, we took a proactive, transparent and cooperative approach with HMRC “.
A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut, which paid less than 10,980 workers £ 846,000, said the breach was unintended and that the employees had been compensated.
Both Tesco and Pizza Hut declined to disclose the amount of the fines they were fined.
“In my experience, most employers do not intentionally violate NMW rules, but are inadvertently trapped by a number of technical aspects of complex legislation,” added Jenny Morris, chair of the National Minimum Wage Team at EY Accountants.