SPARE a thought for the staff who serve you this weekend when you are out to dinner or are attending the football match because some of the biggest names in the hospitality sector have been prosecuted for not paying their staff even the National Minimum Wage.

A Government report exposes poverty wages and unacceptable employment practices at Wagamama, TGI Friday’s, Marriott Hotels, Birmingham City and Stoke City football clubs and St Helens Rugby club, among others.

In total, 179 employers across Britain (15 in Scotland) were fined £1.3million by HM Customs and Excise. Marriot Hotels had to pay £250 each to 279 of its staff as they had not had the legal minimum rate.

An HMRC spokesman said the penalties meant employers could be fined up to twice the total wages shortfall, subject to a maximum of £20,000 per worker. However, as The Financial Times pointed out, there are so few HMRC inspectors enforcing the Minimum Wage that the average company can expect an audit once every 500 years.

The Scottish Socialist Party will continue to expose these practices as part of our ongoing campaign for a £10-an-hour Living Wage, the rate the Government says you need to earn to pay your way.

Colin Fox, National spokesman,

Scottish Socialist Party,

8 Alloway Loan, Edinburgh.