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 Wage Theft
Topic Originator: Wotsit  
Date:   Sun 19 May 15:40

Wage Theft (the withholding, or non-payment of wages by employers) in the UK is estimated to be anywhere from £3-35billion per year (the large variance indicates how little it is studied) and yet it never seems to be discussed - why is that?

Why is it fairly normal for an employer to expect a staff member to hang around after they have stopped being paid? Ten or eleven minutes a day doesn`t seem like much but at minimum wage even that adds up to around £40-£50 per month in unpaid overtime. That doesn`t include all the missed breaks.

That`s the slightly less flagrant side of it too. This country is awash with workplaces whose culture encourages those who take pride in staying late and chastises those who do not. Never paying folk for their overtime of course.

Imagine if we thought it was fine for everyone to steal £50 of groceries from Asda every month? Or if it was normal for folk on benefits to over-claim by £40 per month?

It is one of the least prosecuted crimes in the country too, despite the fact that it is illegal to pay someone under the minimum wage as well as to withhold wages.



Post Edited (Sun 19 May 15:45)
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 Re: Wage Theft
Topic Originator: The One Who Knocks  
Date:   Sun 19 May 16:38

Arguably also though the nation is awash with workplaces that have a culture of employees adding an extra five minutes onto their tea breaks or downing tools five minutes before the end of their shift.



Post Edited (Sun 19 May 16:38)
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 Re: Wage Theft
Topic Originator: Wotsit  
Date:   Sun 19 May 17:15

You might get away with that in some salaried and skilled posts, but try it in the vast majority of minimum wage jobs and you`ll not last long.


"Who you are and what you feel comes not just from inside you, but from where you are in the power structure"
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 Re: Wage Theft
Topic Originator: The One Who Knocks  
Date:   Sun 19 May 17:29

Don`t want to turn this into a tale of woe (like that comedy sketch by Monty Python?) but I suspect I`m in a more unskilled job than yourself Wotsit and probably a lot closer to minimum wage and I`d argue that the lower you are on the ladder the more likely you are to be not giving a monkeys and taking a bit longer for your break or being at the clock out machine a few minutes before finish.

And although my eyes were open
They just might as well be closed
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 Re: Wage Theft
Topic Originator: Wotsit  
Date:   Sun 19 May 18:34

In the grand scheme of things that anecdotal evidence seems like the equivalent of me trying to argue that the time I once lost a 2 pound coin under one of the isles of an Asda excuses my habit of nicking £50 of groceries a month.

My anecdotes are that I have had plenty jobs where my manager always seemed to save those qyarter hour "oh, by the way" meetings until just after I`d clocked-off. Or managers who insisted that I couldn`t have my break because it was busy (code for "understaffed"). I`ve had a manager ask me to stay after my contracted time to help with a busy period (more understaffing) and had the same manager deny agreeing to it when it came to paying me. Or managers who phone me on my day off.

You are right to say that I currently have a relatively privilaged workplace culture in that my employer treats me like an adult human rather than as a resource to be exploited, however that`s a fairly new thing for me, and it might surprise you to learn that I am not aware of any of my colleages exploiting this. Although, more to the point, it doesn`t undermine my argument to mention that not all employers exploit their staff at every oportunity.

And, most to the point, your argumenty is pure whataboutism: some workers stealing time from some employers doesn`t justify some other employers stealing wages from some other staff.


"Who you are and what you feel comes not just from inside you, but from where you are in the power structure"
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 Re: Wage Theft
Topic Originator: The One Who Knocks  
Date:   Sun 19 May 20:43

You`re absolutely right. Some workers being chancers wouldn`t excuse some employers being rogues.

"And, most to the point, your argumenty is pure whataboutism: some workers stealing time from some employers doesn`t justify some other employers stealing wages from some other staff."

I would say though that you`ve surely got that the wrong way round. It`s the employers stealing time and employees stealing wages.

And although my eyes were open
They just might as well be closed
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