Migrant women most likely to be denied minimum wage

Migrant women are the most likely workers to be denied the minimum wage, research has revealed.

A study  commissioned by the TUC and carried out by the University of Oxford has revealed today that female overseas workers are more likely than any other migrant group to be paid less than the national minimum wage (NMW).

The Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (Compas) at the university found that about 35,000 women who are recent migrants to the UK are denied the NMW, and women on average are one-and-a-half times more likely than male migrant workers to be paid less than the NMW.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The rogue employers who underpay the NMW deserve zero tolerance. The NMW is making a real difference to the lives of many low paid migrant workers, and we must continue to crack down on those mean bosses not paying their staff the legal wage to which they are entitled.”

He said the TUC’s Commission on Vulnerable Employment heard many complaints from migrant workers, including excessively long hours, lack of a contract and a complete absence of health and safety training.

“UK unions are stepping up their efforts to organise migrant workers to stop employers from using a poor grasp of English or ignorance of UK employment law as an excuse to treat people badly.”

The report reviewed the pay, working hours, type of work and accommodation of recent migrant workers who have been living and working in the UK for less than 10 years, in the West Midlands and in the East of England/East Midlands (both areas where there has been high levels of recent migration).

It also found that migrant workers were much more likely to experience ‘problems’ at work, including:

55% of recent migrants work 31-48 hours per week and 15.4% work more than 48 hours per week, compared to 48.3% and 13% of workers generally.

Migrant workers are more likely to be working as temps or in insecure work (for example not having a written contract) than any other workers.

Recent migrant workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to be earning less than the appropriate NMW for their age.

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