St Albans consumer champion wins tribunal fight

CONSUMER champion Barry Cashin has won an employment tribunal hearing close to his heart – involving his daughter.

Barry, of Green Lane, St Albans, took the St Albans salon of Toni and Guy in Chequer Street to the tribunal over the wages paid to his then 18-year-old daughter Tazjana after she was taken on as a trainee in May last year.

He pursued the case under National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation because she was paid only �1.87 an hour even though she was told at interview she would be earning �3.50 an hour – a figure below the NMW at the time.

Barry was also concerned that despite being promised training, Tazjana’s status did not change even when her three-month trial period was up.

After six months on �1.87 an hour, Tazjana left the salon and her father started the process of pursuing the case through NMW legislation. Impatient with the progress and process of his complaint through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), he initiated a claim on his daughter’s behalf via the Employment Tribunal Service.

After listening to the evidence from both sides the judge concluded salon owner Jo Newton had breached employment law in not paying NMW and awarded judgement in favour of Tazjana including a further fine against Mr Newton for breaching employment law by not providing her with employment terms and conditions.

Mr Newton was ordered to pay over �4,350 to Tazjana but concerned that the money might not be forthcoming, Barry instructed High Court enforcement officers to issue a Writ of Fieri Facias (seizing assets) under new laws which allow the recovery of non-payment of employment tribunal awards.

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Barry said: “These have much more power and rights than civil service bailiffs. As a consumer rights journalist, I was aware of the recent change to law and keen to see if it worked. It did!”

Mr Newton was ordered to pay just short of �5,000, including the cost of bailiffs, daily interest of eight per cent for non payment and Barry’s �50 court fee.

Tazjana is now working at another St Albans salon where her training is progressing well.

Barry added: “The whole business was a travesty but my research was meticulous.”

Mr Newton said this week: “It has been a very stressful situation. After 16 years of trading here, on this occasion we made an error and wholeheartedly apologise to the member of staff for any wrongdoing and are grateful to have the chance to rectify the situation.”