Company run by some of Wales’ richest people named on ‘Scrooge’ list for failing to pay minimum wage
A company run by some of Wales’ richest people has been named and shamed by the UK Government for failing to comply with the minimum wage.
Premier Forest Products Limited, a timber business based in Newport, was among some 200 firms called out for leaving around 12,000 workers out of pocket by £1.2 million.
The company shortchanged two workers of £797,70 between 2014 and 2017, according to details published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Low Pay Commission.
Its founders, Dilwyn Howells, Nigel Williams and Terry Edgell, are reportedly worth £24 million each and were all included in last year’s Wales Rich List.
Terry Edgell recently purchased Penllyn Castle, a grade-II listed mansion in the Vale of Glamorgan which comes with 72 acres of land, which was on the market in 2018 for £1 million.
Nation.Cymru contacted Premier Forest Products Limited for a response.
Golden Sands Holiday Camp in Rhyl, which had recently received positive publicity from its association with I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, was also named and shamed.
The site, which was reportedly booked to house staff working on the latest season of the show, failed to pay £1.207,50 two five workers between 2013 and 2018. It has been under new management since last month, according to its filings on Companies House.
‘Don’t be a scrooge’
Two more smaller Welsh businesses appeared on the list of “scrooge” employers.
Charles Edward Bateman of the Hunters Moon Inn in Monmouthshire owed £4.874,19 to four workers, while Clive Jones Motors Ltd, which is also now under new ownership, owed £3.816,75 to one worker.
House of Fraser and Waterstones were among household names on the list elsewhere in the UK.
“Businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working employees, regardless of whether it was intentional or not,” said UK Government Labour Markets Minister Paul Scully.
“With Christmas fast approaching, it’s more important than ever that cash is not withheld from the pockets of workers. So don’t be a scrooge – pay your staff properly.”
The Department for Work and Pensions said the companies named today not only had to pay the amounts due to workers but had to pay up to 200% of the sum to the government as a penalty.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said “firms who cheat staff out of their hard-earned money deserve to be named and shamed” but added: “We also need to see prosecutions and higher fines for the most serious offenders, especially those who deliberately flout the law. Minimum wage underpayment is still far too common in Britain.”
Nation.Cymru revealed last year how a Welsh company named and shamed for breaching minimum wage rules was the biggest donor to Vaughan Gething’s Labour leadership campaign and its owner is CEO of another firm which employs Conservative MP Alun Cairns.
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