Two East Lancashire businesses have been named and shamed by the government for failing to pay their workers the minimum wage. 

In the latest round up of employers being named by the government for failing to pay their lowest paid staff the minimum wage, a further 10 companies across Lancashire have been outed, along with more than 500 across the country.

A total of 524 employers were found to have failed to pay their workers nearly £16 million in a clear breach of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) law, leaving more than 172,000 workers out of pocket.

Companies being named range from major high street brands to small businesses and sole traders.

The government said this sends "clear message no employer is exempt from paying their workers the statutory minimum wage".

Among those found to have underpaid staff were Peek A Boo Daycare Limited in Darwen, and Pillitteri Limited, trading under the name The Fighting Cocks Inn, in Cliviger.

The owner of Nino’s Italian in Rawtenstall, Ignazio Pillitteri, bought the Fighting Cocks Inn in 2011 and transformed it into a restaurant which opened in 2012.

Last year however, the former pub was put up for sale and the building is believed to have been sold last week.

Pillitteri Limited was wound up in October. It failed to pay 11 staff around £89 each between April 2019 and November 2019.

Peek A Boo Daycare Limited, in Duckworth Street, Darwen, closed in 2022 and was reopened and re-registered in 2023.

The wage discrepancies took place under the previous provider, between 2016 and 2017, when Peek A Boo failed to pay 12 of its employees £205.49 each, totalling £2,465.83.

A spokesperson for the nursery said: “This was the previous company. We have since then changed ownership and management.

“The deductions were in relation to DBS and uniform fees which was an oversight and repaid to employees once matters were understood.”

The businesses named in the list, published last week, have since paid back what they owe to their staff and have also faced financial penalties of up to 200 per cent of their underpayment.

The investigations by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) concluded between 2015 and 2023.

This is the full list of Lancashire employers being named and shamed for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage:

  • G.R. & M.M. Blackledge Plc, Leyland, trading as Bodycare, failed to pay £324,742.87 to 1,541 workers.
  • Bare Hall Quality Carers Limited, Morecambe, failed to pay £6,733.99 to 110 workers.
  • Peek A Boo Day Care Limited (in liquidation - 19/10/22), Darwen, failed to pay £2,465.83 to 12 workers.
  • Crystal Clean Warton (North West) Limited, Warton, failed to pay £2,328.46 to six workers.
  • Salon 142 Limited, Blackpool, failed to pay £1,919.05 to one worker.
  • Mr Alan Mark Bagot, Blackpool, failed to pay £1,760.57 to two workers.
  • Mr Mohamed Kawaye, Blackpool, failed to pay £1,220.44 to nine workers.
  • Pillitteri Limited (dissolved – October 24, 2023), Cliviger, failed to pay £988.70 to 11 workers.
  • F Edmondson Freightliners Limited (Previously Edmondsons (Freightliners) Limited), Morecambe, failed to pay £585.27 to one worker.
  • Extergeo Industries Ltd (in administration – May 30, 2023) (Previously EMBPS Ltd), Preston, failed to pay £572.21 to 11 workers.

Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, Kevin Hollinrake, said: ”Employees deserve to get paid properly for the hard work they put in.

“While the majority of businesses already do the right thing and pay their staff what they are owed, today’s announcement sends a message to the minority who aren’t - that there are repercussions to undercutting hard work from their staff.”

Whilst not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, the government has been clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it, and that enforcement action will be taken against employers who do not pay their staff correctly.

Independent commissioner at the Low Pay Commission, Patricia Rice, said: “Since its introduction nearly 25 years ago, the national minimum wage has played a vital role in protecting the earnings of the lowest-paid workers in the UK. 

“At a time when the cost-of-living is rising, it is more important than ever that these workers receive the pay to which they are entitled.

“NMW underpayment not only cheats workers of their rightful due, it leaves compliant firms undercut by those who do not abide by the law.

“By naming the firms responsible for significant underpayment, we raise awareness of the nature and the scale of underpayment and encourage all employers to ensure that they fully comply with the law.”

The government has been clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it, and that robust enforcement action will be taken against employers who do not pay their staff correctly.

The government says it is determined to ensure workers are paid for their hard work, having announced an increase in the national living wage in November’s autumn statement, which will take effect from April 1, 2024.

This year marks 25 years since the introduction of the national minimum wage and this year’s increase will see 16–17-year-olds on the minimum wage receive a pay rise of 21.2 per cent.

The National Living Wage for those 21 and over (previously 23 and over) will rise from £10.42 to £11.44 after April 1, 2024.

People aged between 18 and 20 will see their living wage rise from £7.49 to £8.60.

Under 18s and apprentices will be paid £6.40, and the accommodation offset will rise from £9.10 per hour to £9.99.