(ShareCast News) - According to a snap poll by trade union Unite, two out of three workers at Premier Inn, Britain's largest budget hotel chain, had regularly been denied breaks and not been paid what they were owed.
The survey, released by Unite on Thursday, revealed that of the workers who worked through their rest breaks, 75% of them had not been paid for their work and over half had not been permitted a break later in the day to make up for it, a breach of working time regulations that allow employees an uninterrupted 20 minute break every six hours.
Unite's findings came as the Unpaid Britain project launched its report in London which stated that a minimum of 2m British workers had been cheated out of pay, making a total value of over £3bn worth of lost salary every year.
Employers had allegedly cited staff shortages and heavy workloads as the main reasons for asking staff members to work through their breaks.
Unite warned Whitbread, the hospitality giant and owner of Premier Inn, that legal action was "in the pipeline" over multiple claims of wage theft from union members.
Unite hotel project coordinator Charlotte Bence said "Unite is clear that this is 'wage theft'. Whitbread posted pre-tax profits of £316m in August 2017 - this is profit earned at the expense of workers who are not being paid what they are owed for the time they have worked."
"Unite wants Whitbread to respect their staff, pay them properly for the hours they work and ensure they can take the breaks they are entitled to on shift. We encourage Premier Inn workers to get in touch with us," Bence added.
As of 1545 GMT, Whitbread shares had declined 1.32% to 3,586.00p.
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