§ Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the percentage of retail employees in Great Britain who are illegally underpaid; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Alison
A firm estimate cannot be made because the wages inspectorate does not inspect a statistically 241W representative sample of employers. Precise figures are available only in respect of workers whose pay was directly examined in the course of visits to establishments. Provisional results for 1982 show that 21.4 per cent. of such workers in the retail trades were underpaid. As the inspectorate tends to concentrate its visits on establishments where underpayments are more likely to be found, this figure cannot be taken as representative of all workers in the trades. A representative figure would be much lower.