Francis O'Grady
O'Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said failing to pay the minimum wage is an antisocial act Reuters

UK companies that break minimum wage rules should be fined up to £75,000 in order to combat employer that flout the law, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The trade union body warned that whilst most employers are happy to pay up, a minority have developed a "wide range of scams", including under-recording hours, bogus self-employment, misusing interns and volunteers, charging for uniforms, not paying for travel between work sites.

The TUC, part of a 10-point programme, recommended that the government hire 100 more HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enforcement officers and, among other things, hike the maximum minimum wage cheat fine from £5,000 ($7,561, €6,379) to £75,000.

"Failing to pay the minimum wage is an antisocial act that squeezes those workers who have the least," said Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the TUC.

"There should be no hiding place for cheapskate bosses who try to cheat their workers out of the minimum wage.

"We must engage in a constant battle to ensure that every worker gets at least the minimum. It is clear that some employers are actively looking for new ways not to pay even the legal minimum.

"There should be a broad consensus between political parties, good employers and trade unions that the minimum wage must always be enforced effectively.

"We urge everyone to support the TUC's plan for ensuring continuous improvement to the minimum wage system."

The TUC also recommended that the government offers better official guidance on the minimum wage so that employers know their responsibilities.

In addition, the organisation called on the government to make funding for training apprentices dependent on employers paying the minimum wage, and create a duty for training providers to check that the minimum wage is paid.

"It is not only unacceptable to pay less than the minimum wage, it is against the law," a Department for Business spokesperson said.

"We've taken tough action to crack down on offenders by naming, shaming and fining them as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them."