Continue We want you to get the most out of using this website, which is why we and our partners use cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to receive these cookies. You can find out more about how we use cookies here.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Subscriptions  |  evouchers  |  Jobs  |  Property  |  Motors  |  Travel  |  Dating  |  Family Notices

Women win cash from Cumbrian boss who failed to pay minimum wage

A mother and daughter have been awarded nearly £4,000 by an employment tribunal after their boss failed to pay the minimum wage.

tribunal women photo
Karen Conley, left, and her daughter Zoe Scott

Karen Conley and daughter Zoe Scott won their case despite not being able to afford a lawyer and not having the backing of a union.

They claimed that coach-hire boss Wallace Cuthbert, trading as WLC Travel, failed to pay the minimum wage when they worked on school runs into Carlisle’s Morton Academy.

And when Mrs Scott became pregnant, he failed to give her paid time off to attend ante-natal classes and pressurised her into taking maternity leave sooner than she wanted to.

Despite winning the case, they have yet to receive a penny. The women, both of Friars Garth, Abbeytown, issued county court proceeding this week in a bid to recover the money.

WLC Travel is insolvent and being wound up although Mr Cuthbert is still in business under his own name.

Mrs Conley, 39, said: “We were successful but I don’t think we will ever see the money, which is annoying.

“But I’m glad we did it. He had a solicitor but the tribunal believed us rather than him.”

Mrs Scott, 21, said: “We worked out what he was paying us wasn’t the minimum wage. He was a family friend and we trusted him but all the time he was ripping us off.”

The women turned to Acas for help and were advised to start an employment-tribunal claim.

Judge Peter Rennie has now delivered the ruling following hearings in February and March.

The tribunal heard that Mr Cuthbert had contracts with Cumbria County Council to ferry children – particularly those with disabilities – to schools in Carlisle. Mrs Conley was employed from April 2008 until July 2011 first as an escort on the coaches, then as a driver. She was paid £70 a week initially, later £80, although her hours varied.

She was awarded £1,828 to compensate for not receiving the minimum wage plus £190 for not being given written terms and conditions. The tribunal threw out a claim that she was constructively dismissed.

Mrs Scott was employed from September 2010 as an escort, also on £70 a week.

She was awarded £449 to cover the shortfall in pay, £157 for not being given written terms and conditions, and £1,308 for pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

The tribunal heard that Mrs Scott had wanted to begin her maternity leave in October 2011. Mr Cuthbert wanted her to take it sooner.

He moved her to a different school run in September which meant that, instead of being picked up at home, she would have to make her own way to Carlisle to start work.

She could not do that so opted to start maternity leave straight away.

Mr Cuthbert denied all the claims but Judge Rennie’s judgement is scathing about his evidence. It says: “In various respects the evidence of Mr Cuthbert was unsatisfactory. He gave two wholly contradictory answers. Indeed, we considered that various parts of his evidence were unlikely to be correct.”

Mr Cuthbert told the News & Star the women would be paid.

He said: “We are just trying to sort it all out. They will be paid.”


News & Star What's On search


Will the public sector workers' strikes against workloads, pension changes, retirement ages and pay, change government thinking?



Show Result

Hot jobs
Scan for our iPhone and Android apps
Search for: