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Craig Bancroft slams ‘naming and shaming' by wage offenders list as ‘abhorrent'

15 February 2017 by

More than 350 employers have been ‘named and shamed' on the government's largest ever list of national minimum and living wage offenders.

The hospitality sector featured prominently on the list, with 84 employers owing a total of £240,516.64 to 563 workers, according to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The list of offenders included the award-winning Northcote hotel in Langho, Lancashire, which failed to pay £6,621.82 to 22 workers.

Other hospitality operators named included San Lorenzo restaurant in Knightsbridge which failed to pay 29 employees more than £53,000, after its sister restaurant in Wimbledon restaurant topped the list last year by failing to pay nearly £100,000 to 30 workers.

Meanwhile, the Feversham Arms hotel in Helmsley, Yorkshire, failed to pay £19,407.32 to 31 workers and the Aviator by Tag hotel in Farnborough was also named as failing to pay more than £32,000 to 37 workers.

Northcote, which was the AA England Hotel of the Year 2016, was fined £7,000 for pay discrepancies over a three-year period. Craig Bancroft, managing director of the four-AA-star, 26-bedroom hotel and 2016 Hotelier of the Year, admitted the hotel's administration systems missed some birthday pay increases.

However, he said he was "very, very upset" that employee benefits which are deducted from salaries, such as accommodation deposits, knife deposits, wage advances and purchases made through the hotel, were considered as breaches of the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Bancroft confirmed the money had been paid or refunded to all staff, and that the hotel would no longer offer advances in wages or purchase goods on behalf of staff. Deposits for accommodation will now be requested via the issuing of invoices.

The hotel previously offered a four-week induction for apprentices to familiarise themselves with the business before their apprenticeship officially started in September. Apprentices were taken on team building courses, visits to suppliers and given private tuition from chefs during this time, and paid at Apprenticeship NMW. However, as they did not officially enrol on the hotel's apprenticeship scheme until September, they did not qualify for Apprentice NMW for those dates.

The hotel will not be able to offer this kind of induction it in future as it breaches NMW.

Bancroft said: "I do not agree with the things that we have been cited for apart from the couple of people where we missed a birthday."

He said in his role as Hotelier of the Year he had spoken to other hoteliers on the issue, many of whom take a deposit for staff accommodation in order to ensure against damage of property.

He added: "The whole point of this is to make sure that people are not being taken advantage of. I totally agree with that. But nobody here is being abused. To be put on a national list and ‘named and shamed', as they say, for things that are basically interpretations of what is National Minimum Wage, I find it abhorrent."

Charles Merchie, general manager at the Feversham Arms hotel in Helmsley, Yorkshire, said he thought the business was compliant with the National Minimum Wage law.

He added: "It was not intentional by any means to disobey this law. As soon as we knew there had been a mistake we corrected this immediately. Furthermore we have now put a robust system in place to ensure this does not happen again."

The Aviator by Tag hotel in Farnborough was also named. General manager Dominic Osborne said: "Aviator Hotel was contacted by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regarding an error in the calculation of some employee pay in relation to the National Minimum Wage legislation. Upon notification of this, we took steps to ensure compliance and have since introduced a new remuneration scheme which has the support of all of our staff."

Business minister Margot James revealed 360 firms in total across sectors between them underpaid 15,520 workers £995,233.

For the first time, the naming list includes employers who failed to pay eligible workers at least the new National Living Wage rate, which is currently £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over. The NMW of £6.95 per hour continues to apply to 21 to 24-year-olds. Rates are set to increase on 1 April to a National Living Wage of £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 and over, and a NMW of £7.05 per hour for 21 to 24-year-olds.

James said that the public naming and shaming was "sending the clear message to employers that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished".

Since the publication of the names of employers who have broken the law was introduced by the BEIS in 2013, more than 1,000 employers have been named, with arrears totalling more than £4.5m. More than £2m in fines has been issued.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, of which eight members were listed, said the association is in favour of the National Living Wage and "cannot condone" any businesses breaking the law by not paying it.

She said that the BHA also believed the level of the National Living Wage should be made by the Low Pay Commission, rather than politicians.

She added: "Four out of five hospitality and tourism businesses in the UK are SMEs and are facing a raft of rising costs in a labour intensive industry threatening the very survival of what we call Business JAMs. With this in mind we have asked that in the budget next month the chancellor scrap the proposed massive rises in business rates, where some of our members are facing increases of 250%, reduce the National Insurance Contribution for under 25-year-olds and cut the rate of Tourism VAT in the UK, which is twice that in the rest of Europe."

The hospitality firms named on the list included:

• Mr Lorenzo Berni trading as Osteria San Lorenzo, London SW3, failed to pay £53,496.57 to 29 workers.
• Tag Hotel Limited trading as Aviator Hotel, Farnborough GU14, failed to pay £32,094.17 to 37 workers.
• Mr Anthony Y Lloyd & Mrs Peta S Lloyd trading as Fallowfield Country House Hotel, Abingdon OX13, failed to pay £19,436.88 to 6 workers.
• Feversham Arms Limited trading as Feversham Arms Hotel, York YO62, failed to pay £19,407.32 to 31 workers.
• Delicatezza Limited trading as Peri Peri Original, Middlesbrough TS1, failed to pay £9,687.66 to 7 workers.
• Mr Sean Bennett trading as Bennetts Seafood Bar & Grill, WarrenpointBT34, failed to pay £7,300.15 to 25 workers.
• Northcote Hotel Limited, Blackburn BB6, failed to pay £6,621.82 to 22 workers.
• The Swan Hotel (Newby Bridge) Limited, Ulverston LA12, failed to pay £5,674.29 to 14 workers.
• Q Hotels Services Limited, Leeds LS27, failed to pay £4,579.76 to 1 worker.
• West Street Enterprises Ltd trading as Subway, Sheffield S1 4EU, failed to pay £3,728.55 to 18 workers.
• Winford Manor Hotel Limited, Bristol BS40, failed to pay £2,182.90 to 3 workers.
• The Stanneylands Hotel (Previous Owners), Wilmslow SK9, failed to pay £1,790.61 to 2 workers.
• Perco Task 1 Ltd trading as Subway, Durham DH1 5EJ, failed to pay £1,468.03 to 1 worker.
• Mr Sujith Ratnasingam trading as Wok Express, High Wycombe HP13, failed to pay £1,413.83 to 1 worker.
• First Stop Restaurants Limited trading as Bel's Diner, Orpington BR6, failed to pay £1,410.32 to 1 worker.
• The Castle Hotel (Taunton) Limited, Taunton TA1, failed to pay £1,404.77 to 4 workers.
• Loungers Limited, Bristol BS1, failed to pay £1,327.24 to 4 workers.
• Luca Monte Limited trading as Zia Nina, Bridgend CF31, failed to pay £1,238.53 to 1 worker.
• Subwey (sic) Southampton Ltd trading as Subway, Southampton SO14 3HE, failed to pay £1,174.86 to 79 workers.
• Hogarths Hotel Limited trading as Hogarths Hotels, Solihull B93, failed to pay £1,104.94 to 1 worker.
• Herbel (Northern) Limited trading as KFC, Aberdeen AB10 1QT, failed to pay £1,068.13 to 23 workers.
• Kumla Limited trading as Subway, Northampton NN1 2EA, failed to pay £971.31 to 46 workers.
• Villa Scalini Ltd trading as Villa Italia, Belfast BT7, failed to pay £928.41 to 1 worker.
• Highbullen Hotel Limited trading as Highbullen Hotel Golf & Country Club, Umberleigh EX37, failed to pay £907.23 to 8 workers.
• S&J Bastian trading as Marwell Hotel, Winchester SO21, failed to pay £883.27 to 1 worker.
• Tivnor Limited trading as Café Naaz, Wath-upon-Dearne S63, failed to pay £859.26 to 4 workers.
• Eat Fresh Merry Hill Limited trading as Subway, Dudley DY5 1QX, failed to pay £814.27 to 12 workers.
• Blackwater Bars Limited trading as Idols, Swansea SA1, failed to pay £795.04 to 20 workers.
• Canefield Ltd trading as McDonald's, Birmingham B44 0AA, failed to pay £759.98 to 46 workers.
• Bula Restaurants Limited trading as The Ditton, Surbiton KT6, failed to pay £653.24 to 9 workers.
• Elfordleigh Limited trading as Elfordleigh Hotel:Golf:Leisure, Plymouth PL7, failed to pay £630.23 to 4 workers.
• YUM! Restaurants International Limited trading as KFC, Surbiton KT6 5LR, failed to pay £623.10 to 1 worker.
• The Winking Prawn Group Limited trading as The Winking Prawn, Salcombe TQ8, failed to pay £561.48 to 1 worker.
• CCR&L Inns Ltd trading as The Millstone Inn, Stamford PE9, failed to pay £531.88 to 1 worker.
• Salcombe Harbour Hotel Ltd, Salcombe TQ8, failed to pay £455.69 to 2 workers.
• Mr Bijumon K Varghese trading as The Curry Leaf, Exeter EX4, failed to pay £446.22 to 1 worker.
• Chennai Chutney Limited, Harrow HA2, failed to pay £445.43 to 1 worker.
• Berties (Romsey) Ltd, Romsey SO51, failed to pay £436.01 to 1 worker.
• Caledonia Enterprise Limited trading as The Tartan Lodge, Glasgow G31, failed to pay £380.00 to 1 worker.
• Sriven Services Ltd trading as Subway, Bradford BD10 9AP, failed to pay £370.67 to 18 workers.
• Sohan S Kular Ltd trading as Custom House Restaurant, Londonderry BT48, failed to pay £365.16 to 9 workers.
• A3D2 Ltd trading as Bar Soho, London W1D, failed to pay £341.26 to 1 worker.
• McHenry's Central Bar Ltd, Ballycastle BT54, failed to pay £330.24 to 1 worker.
• Mitchells & Butlers Retail (No 2) Limited trading as Harvester The Lowry, Birmingham B31, failed to pay £329.10 to 2 workers.
• Mrs Kadambari Suri trading as Worlington Hall Country Hotel, Bury St Edmunds IP28, failed to pay £323.07 to 1 worker.
• Curran Court Hotel Limited (Previous Owners), Larne BT40, failed to pay £282.88 to 3 workers.
• Dark Sky Park Ltd trading as House o' Hill Hotel, Newton Stewart DG8 6RN, failed to pay £279.63 to 1 worker.
• All About The Water Limited trading as Swanage Wimpy, Swanage BH19, failed to pay £211.51 to 2 workers.
• Jaguna Ltd trading as The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon BA15, failed to pay £188.59 to 2 workers.
• JFMerchants Ltd trading as Bin Ella Wine and Champagne Bar, Faversham ME13, failed to pay £184.25 to 1 worker.
• ASG Subway Limited trading as Subway, Sheffield S10 2HP, failed to pay £141.95 to 10 workers.
• Ms Lorraine Pearson trading as Keyworth Tavern, Nottingham NG12, failed to pay £133.65 to 1 worker.
• Reading Island Bar Limited, Reading RG4, failed to pay £130.00 to 1 worker.
• Mr Rui Carrola & Mrs Paula Carrola trading as Ristorante Carola, London SE3, failed to pay £123.69 to 1 worker.
• Lotus Encounters Limited trading as Avant Garde, Glasgow G1, failed to pay £103.85 to 1 worker.
• Primadell Limited trading as Gran Caffe Londra, London SW1X, failed to pay £103.08 to 1 worker.

See the full list here.

Le Gavroche increases salaries for staff paid under minimum wage >>

Hospitality firms named among Minimum Wage offenders >>

Government names hospitality firms that failed to pay minimum wage >>

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