GMB have called for the official review into the future of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage, to be conducted by Professor Arin Dube, to cover enforcement and a role for unions to make complaints about non-payment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the review, which will be carried out after 2020, in last week’s spring statement.
GMB has long complained that requiring workers to complain in person to HMRC leaves them open to victimisation by employers. If unions were able to raise complaints on behalf of members, this would make enforcement more widespread. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has said that recent estimates suggest nearly 400,000 people were paid below the living wage and that chances of being caught for underpayment remain low.
The current National Minimum Wage for workers aged 25 and over is £7.83 an hour, and £7.38 for those aged 21 to 24.
Warren Kenny, GMB London Regional Secretary said: “Non-compliance with the terms of the National Minimum Wage as well as the National Living Wage is more widespread than people think.
“GMB has persistently called for unions to be given the right to be able to report cases of underpayment to HMRC so that workers can remain out of the limelight and therefore reduce the risks of exposing themselves to threats of retaliation.
“So far this call has fallen on deaf ears. However, covering enforcement and a role for unions in this official review of the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage would give greater opportunities to catch underpaying companies.
“GMB continue to call for companies to pay a Real Living Wage of £10.55 per hour in London and £9 per hour across the rest of the UK.”