A construction firm has been named and shamed by the Government for not paying its staff the minimum wage.
A2ZEE, based in Northumberland’s Cramlington, was exposed in a list of 25 businesses across the country.
It is claimed the firm, which has its base on Dewley Court and specialises in joinery, owes 14 staff £3,375.51.
The TUC has branded the practice “immoral” and has called on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to be handed more money to catch wage dodgers.
The list is the biggest published by the Government since it announced a crackdown on employers who fail to pay their staff the legal minimum last year.
Between the list of 25, it is said the firms owe employees more than £43,000 in arrears, and face fines of over £21,000.
The minimum wage rate is set at £6.31 an hour though living wage campaigners say it should be £7.65.
Elsewhere Steven Stainton, of Steven Stainton Joinery, in Cumbria’s Cockermouth, neglected to pay £1,415 to a worker.
The largest amount a UK company failed to pay its workers was the £7,310 a North West firm failed to pay three of its workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady (pictured) praised the Government for exposing the firms.
She said: “Under-paying your lowest paid staff is immoral and illegal. Employers caught in the act deserve to be fined and have their reputation ruined.
“This should send a clear message that dodging the minimum wage does not pay. All minimum wage cheats should be named and shamed, and HMRC need greater resources to catch even more crooks.”
The Government also plans to increase fines, so that an employer underpaying 10 workers could face fines of up to £200,000.
Business Minister Jenny Willott encouraged workers to get in touch with officials if they suspected employers were short-changing them.
She said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is not only wrong, it’s illegal. If employers break the law they need to know that they will face tough consequences.
“Any worker who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.
“If anyone suspects they are not being paid the wage they are legally entitled to they should call the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.”
The Journal was not able to contact anyone at A2ZEE for a comment yesterday.