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London workers urged to know their wage rights

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Issued 04 Feb 2009

A national campaign to help boost workers' awareness of the increased national minimum wage comes to London for its final events this week.

Campaign roadshow with advice and support from national minimum wage experts are being held at Hackney Town Hall on Friday 6th February and Willesden Green Library Centre on Saturday 7th February.

The "It's Your Call" campaign was launched in Downing Street by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson in November and has toured the UK over the last three months, stopping off at 28 towns and cities, giving workers advice on their entitlements and how to make a complaint if they have been underpaid.

Minister for London Tony McNulty said:

"The national minimum wage has had a huge and lasting impact on the lives of millions of UK workers over the last 10 years. About 87,000 people in London benefited from the latest increase in October last year.

"This campaign is giving the most vulnerable workers the face to face advice and support they need, so they can take action where necessary. Anyone who is concerned they are not receiving the national minimum wage should call the helpline on 0845 6000 678."
Lord Mandelson said:

"The minimum wage was introduced when I was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 10 years ago and I am so proud to see the difference it has made to the lives of millions of hard working people across the UK.

"More than one million workers benefited from its increase last year and it's important that we make sure everyone knows what they're entitled to, that's what this campaign is all about.

"Of course, most businesses treat staff fairly, but the small number who cheat their workers are flouting the law and undercutting honest competitors.

"Our changes will make sure everyone caught not paying their workers properly faces a stiff penalty - we are determined to ensure workers are paid fairly."

Royal Assent for the Employment Act has paved the way for new penalties to come into force in April, as part of government's crackdown on those who try to exploit workers.

The changes introduce unlimited fines for non-compliance for the most serious cases, removing the maximum limit of 5,000.

The roadshow will have facilities to report cases of abuse, while fully trained staff will be on the spot to give expert face-to-face advice.

Visitors to the event will also hear local people tell their stories of underpayment and the help they received tackling wage abuse.

More than one million people across the UK benefit from annual rises in the National Minimum Wage. On October 1st 2008, rates rose to 5.73 for workers aged 22 and over; 4.77 for 18-21 year olds and 3.53 for those aged 16 and 17.

Anyone worried they may not be getting the National Minimum Wage can call the NMW helpline on 0845 6000 678. Support is offered in more than 100 languages and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.

Notes

1. Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson and Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden launched the "It's Your Call" campaign in Downing Street on Tuesday 18th November.

2. The campaign's visits to city centre sites include:

* Cardiff, Bristol, Swansea, Edinburgh and Glasgow in November
* Leeds, Huddersfield and Sheffield in December
* Peterborough, Leicester, Derby, Norwich, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry Birmingham and Newcastle in January
* Plymouth, Portsmouth and London in February

3. The Employment Act has now gained Royal Assent. Its measures, which are due to come into force in April 2009, include:

* Removal of the limit on maximum fines for underpayment of the national minimum wage, currently 5,000.
* The most serious cases of non-compliance will be tried at Crown Court, which can impose an effectively unlimited penalty
* Introducing a fairer way of dealing with national minimum wage arrears, calculated so workers do not lose out.

4. For more information on the minimum wage, visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/nmw.


About the Author

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-02-05 11:45:54 in Business Articles

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