Several businesses in North Wales have been publicly “named and shamed” by the UK Government for not paying the minimum wage.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy today published a list of 233 UK businesses that underpaid workers, including five firms from North Wales.
One cafe owner hit back over the action, saying that he had been made to “feel like a criminal” for an “innocent error”.
Barry Brennand, who owns the popular Whistlestop Cafe at Rhuddlan, said he had always paid the minimum wage but claimed he had been hit with a £433 bill after a staff member had made an error.
He says she mistakenly signed environmental check forms for days she had not worked.
He said: “I really feel this has been unfair. I considered contesting this but sometimes that can prove so costly and time-consuming that it is easier to just pay up.
“I have always paid the correct pay. All my staff are fully registered. I wish they would target those employers that are paying cash in hand.
“I am not impressed. This whole thing has made me feel like a criminal, when the truth is we work hard, pay the right wages and do a lot for local charities.”
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “While most employers get it right, it is simply not acceptable that some employers in Wales are failing to pay at least the minimum wage their workers are entitled to.
“The UK Government is determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage and to building an economy that works for all.
“April’s increase in the national minimum and living wage rates is putting more money into the pockets of Wales’ lowest paid workers than ever before.
“Excuses for not paying employees what they are legally owed will not be tolerated.”
Business Minister Margot James said: “It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers.”
The North Wales firms named are:
■ Mr Talal Al-Arab and Mr Hani Hussain trading as Bella Pizza, Gwynedd LL55, failed to pay £377.25 to 1 worker.
■ Adeiladwyr Eryri Builders CYF, Gwynedd LL52, failed to pay £864 to 1 worker.
■ Mr Dylan Rhys Roberts trading as D R Roberts Plumbing & Heating, Denbighshire LL15, failed to pay £735.58 to 1 worker.
■ Whistlestop Café (North Wales) Ltd trading as Whistlestop Café, Denbighshire LL18, failed to pay £433.68 to 1 worker.
■ Ruthin Castle Hotel Ltd, Denbighshire LL15, failed to pay £2,182.49 to 1 worker.