Female migrant workers paid less

Female migrant workers may be more likely to be paid less than the national minimum wage (NMW). 26 September. A report on Vulnerable Employment form the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reveals the abuse of migrant workers.The research aimed to investigate the available information to uncover the reality of working life for migrant workers.

The report found that migrant workers were much more likely to experience problems at work, and highlighted a number of worrying trends:

• Recent migrants work longer hours per week than most other workers – for example 55 per cent of recent migrants work 31-48 hours per week, and 15.4 per cent work more than 48 hours per week, compared to 48.3 per cent and 13 per cent 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. • Women who are recent migrants to the UK are 1.5 times more likely than male migrant workers to be paid less than the NMW. • Women who migrate to work in the UK therefore face a disproportionate risk of being illegally underpaid – with around 35,000 denied 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.

‘The TUC’s Commission on Vulnerable Employment heard many complaints from migrant workers, including excessively long hours, no contract and a complete lack of health and safety training.

"Belonging to a trade union is the best form of defence a worker can have against exploitative bosses. 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."