A few years ago, just before christmas I got a job as a driver for a computer company. This company was called Specialist Computer Centre and describes itself as Europe's largest independent IT company. Their chairman is a fellow called Sir Peter Rigby.
I thought I'd tell you a little bit about how they do business. After a few days I was given a contract to sign, it included an authorisation to deduct ten pounds per week from my wages for the accountancy costs of deducting income tax and National Insurance. These deductions are obligatory . Under the PAYE system the employer has to deduct the tax at source neither the employer nor employee get any choice in the matter. I know of no other company that charges it's employees this kind of money in this way. Ten pounds a week was a sizeable portion of my income and I didn't feel that I owed this money to Specialist Computer Centre, I wouldn't sign.
I soon learnt about how this company did business with it's employees. Their Birmingham office phoned me and sacked me whilst I was driving round the motorway. It turned out that I was employed by the Birmingham office who called themselves Specialist Computer Recruitment (or something like that) who in turn work for their only client Specialist Computer Centre. This meant that I was always at arms length and the people I met I never actually worked for; and the people I worked for I never actually met. But that is beside the point.
When they came to pay me they still made the deduction of ten pounds for accountancy fees, by then I had left. Eventually they repaid that money. I took it up with Citizen's Advice Bureau who described it as 'sharp practice', but said nothing could be done because I hadn't been there long enough to accrue any employment rights.
There are plenty of lousy employers out there, I nominate Sir Peter Rigby for a Scrooge and sharp practice medal. Yeeeeuuurgh