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Three football clubs named and shamed for underpaying workers

Three Scottish football clubs have been “named and shamed” for underpaying staff. Motherwell, Greenock Morton and Falkirk were on a list of employers not paying the minimum wage.

A list of 28 employers breaching pay rules in Scotland was released by the UK government as part of its campaign to force employers to pay workers properly.

The companies had to refund a total of £116,697 to 92 workers.

It was the 13th time such a list has been compiled, with more workers receiving payments this year than in previous years.

Across the UK, a total of £1.7m in back pay was given to 16,000 workers.

‘Administrative error’

Fines totalling £1.3m for underpaying the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rate were handed out to 260 employers, with retail, hospitality and hairdressing being the most common sectors named.

Reasons for the underpayments included failing to pay workers travelling between jobs, deducting money from pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.

Motherwell failed to pay £2,755.34 to 12 workers, with Greenock Morton keeping £2,382.46 from six members of staff. Falkirk had to pay back £495 owed to one worker.

A spokesman for Motherwell said: “This was an administrative error on the club’s part. The amount outstanding was immediately paid to employees in full”.

‘Unfortunate situation’

Falkirk said their case had related to a player who signed with the club in 2013, and that they had rectified the situation “immediately”.

The club said: “Lessons were learned from this unfortunate situation and all minimum wage guidelines have been stringently followed since.”

The SPFL said all of its clubs “must act in accordance with the laws of the land”, and that “we are currently making enquiries to each of the three named clubs to establish the facts.”

Greenock Morton clarified its position in a statement on the club website: “This is a historical case dating from three seasons ago in which a solitary player was due the majority of the figure mentioned as a result of being erroneously contracted.

“Five other players were also underpaid by very minimal amounts due to the club missing key trigger dates for slight increases due in the terms of their contracts.

“However, once we were made aware of the situation, all players were promptly and fully reimbursed earlier this year.”

The report came from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan said the government would not stand by while companies “diddle” workers out of their pay.

“The National Living Wage was established to ensure that everyone, everywhere, receives a decent income.

“It is unacceptable that some companies in Scotland still think they can get away with underpaying their staff.”