On Monday, a video began circulating of a disgruntled construction worker demolishing the entrance of a Travelodge. The hotel is scheduled to open soon but the damage caused could see that put back by some time. A polarizing subject, many are sympathetic to the worker who is owed £600 in unpaid wages, however, the damage caused could see him embroiled in legal action costing far more.
Warning: Strong Language
Dealing with unpaid wages
Unpaid wages are unfortunately a common sight in debt collection. It is also a common theme within the construction sector. With the structure of building work often through contractors and sub contractors, the chain of responsibility can be unclear. This can results in front line workers seeing pay delayed or even not paid at all. Given front line workers are bearing the brunt of the labour, they definitely deserve their due pay.
Many comments on videos of the incident and on a crowd funding page set up for the worker suggest it is a common problem in construction. Workers with families who put in the time find themselves out of pocket for various reasons. In this case it has led the worker to this level of frustration that he took it upon himself to vent his anger. The man has yet to be identified but actions like these suggest he may have been stretched to breaking point by the unpaid wages.
Unfortunately on this occasion however, breaking point could cause a number of issues for the worker. While the fundraising page may help towards legal costs, should Travelodge wish to pursue legal action, it could turn into thousands or tens of thousands against him. Because of the unclear chain of command, it is unlikely Travelodge would be responsible for paying him. As such damage to their property is very separate from him not being paid. Even the fellow co-workers cheering him on may have agreed with the actions, long term however, it could be an expensive decision. Should the matter go to court, even a sympathetic judge may struggle to sentence anything other than an expensive conviction.
AYOM does sympathise with non payment of wages. We often work with independent contractors, sole-traders and freelance workers relying on commission. Without going into demographic data, it would be a safe assumption to presume the builder (as with many of his colleagues) rely on timely payment to have a smoothly run home. Home could easily include a partner, children, pets, a mortgage, rent, a car and other expenses. £600 is not a figure to take lightly when it comes to running a home.
What can I do?
While being pushed to breaking point could be from a number of reasons beyond but not limited to money owed, our advice would be to find a solution that keeps you without legal recourse. Chasing money can be stressful if you are unsure of who to chase; that is where debt collection can take the strain for you.
A lot of professionals, self employed or otherwise, may not know that collectors can assist with unpaid wages. Large or small amounts, commission based or salaried. Wages can be recovered, and especially so when contracts have been signed and services rendered. AYOM has dealt specifically with construction specialists before as the nature of the industry often leads to situations of non payment like this incident.
In the case of seeking remittance from higher up (such as construction contracting), a little contract and legal knowledge can help speed up the process. Having a collection agency with the backing of in house legal assistance can provide that level of protection the lay person may not get if you attempt to recover the money yourself. This is especially true if you resort to measures such as the digger rampage.
We would urge any employee or self employed person owed wages to get in touch for free advice regarding recovering wages. There are a number of variables that can affect what is owed and who is ultimately responsible. These are all factors which a debt collection agency can help provide advice on. Doing so could unlock peace of mind in the knowledge your wages can be recovered without resorting to extreme measures. There are a number of acts to protect employees and those with signed contracts including late payment charges and interest. Debt collection agencies will have the knowledge that with a bit of time, could see you repaid in full plus extra charges the law allows you. We hope the Liverpool worker’s matter is resolved as amicably as possible. We would also urge anybody in a similar situation to first get advice, talk through your options and seek expert assistance. You can recover unpaid wages and there is help available for you.
For any employee, sole trader or independent worker seeking unpaid wages, get your free advice and talk through any legal issues to get your money back by calling 0800 130 3357. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Don’t let employers stretch you to breaking point. Get back money you are owed!