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HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by xenubuster, May 20, 2008.

  1. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Is there a UK law equivalent to the US Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988? If so, sec-checks should be illegal.

    Anyone who has been subjected to interrogation on a lie detector by their employer should report it to the authorities - it is a gross violation of employee rights.

    http://forums.whyweprotest.net/7-ge...ygraph-protection-act-1988-scientology-17627/
  2. Anne Ominous Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    ^ Interesting. Make sure you get this in your reports guize.
  3. Plups Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Bumped for great justice.
  4. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Can someone do me a TLDR of what's going on with this, so I can do a press release? As ever, I'm at work and snowed under, but will do something when I can.
  5. TICTpxagain Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Is it not a little soon for a press release? Seems like we might be jumping the gun.
  6. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    I've had a reply from HMRC.

    Specifically I asked them "can a non-uk charity employ people in the UK and be exempt from the National Minimum Wage?"

    The bad news is HMRC have confirmed "There is no requirement that the charity has to be a UK registered charity."

    So this means residential workers are possibly not entitled to the NMW. The CofS will claim they are exempt under Section 44A, because COSREC is a charity registered in Australia.

    Ex Sea org members should still lodge a compalint with HMRC, especially giving details of wages and any commissions paid to them. In this way HMRC will be able to make individual judegements.

    BUT there is better news as regards non-So staff!

    I told HMRC "They pay staff regular weekly amounts of a few pounds."

    They replied "However, workers working in the circumstances you describe, where they are paid a weekly amount, means that they do not meet the criteria to be classed as voluntary workers for national minimum wage purposes and the voluntary worker exemption will not apply."

    This means that non-SO staff, despite the CofS claims, are not in fact volunteeers per Section 44 of the act! So they can make a claim to HMRC for entitlement to the National Minimum Wage.

    The CofS will be subject to penalties and enforced to pay back-pay to non-residential staff for the last six years. They will also have to either pay present staff the NMW of £5.52 per hour or set them up as residential members of a religious community, even in the outer orgs.

    To summarise how to make a claim to HMRC:
    Phone the HMRC helpline: 0845 6000 678
    Give details of employment, hours, working conditions, and pay (including any Book Sale or Registrar or other commisions, as well as any promises or guidelines given to them before they began employment.


    The helpline is friendly and supportive when you speak to them.

    I have rolled this story out to the Press and will hopefully get an MP active in this campaign. I'll post my email and HMRC's reply in full for those who want to read them.
  7. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Here's my original Email to HMRC:

    My enquiry is about the Church of Scientology, who do not pay the minimum wage in the UK.

    The Church of Scientology was denied charitable status by the Charities
    Commission, but as regards employing people in the UK, the organisation
    claims it operates in the UK under the "Church of Scientology Religious
    Education College" which is a registered charity in Australia.

    So my question is can a non-uk charity employ people in the UK and be
    exempt from the National Minimum Wage?

    There are other associated matters, but essentially having read the NMW
    "Detailed Guide" I would like clarification of the above question.

    The following affidavit may be relevant as regards the steps the
    organisation took to put "religious cloaking" in place in order to,
    amongst other things, avoid paying minimum wages.
    http://crackpotpress.com/crackpot/images/stories/pdf/crs.pdf

    The organisation does get members to sign a document, claiming they are
    joining a religious order, but the organisation does not qualify as a
    religious order under section 44 of the "Detailed Guide" because it
    employs non-residential staff and also because of the above question
    where they are not a charity in the UK. They pay staff regular weekly
    amounts of a few pounds.


    Here is their reply:

    Dear Sir

    For security reasons specific personal data may have been removed from this e-mail.

    Thank you for your enquiry regarding the national minimum wage.

    You ask "Can a non-uk charity employ people in the UK and be exempt from the National Minimum Wage." You describe a situation where staff of an organisation are paid a weekly amount.

    Most workers working in the UK who are over compulsory school age are entitled to the national minimum wage unless they fall into one of the groups who are exempt under national minimum wage legislation. The legislation applies to charities in the same way it applies to other employers.

    It appears that your query relates to two of the exemptions from national minimum wage, Sections 44 and 44A of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.

    Section 44 describes how workers for national minimum wage purposes do not qualify for the national minimum wage if they fall within the definition of a voluntary worker.

    Part of the definition of a voluntary worker is that the worker must be employed by a charity, voluntary organisation, an associated fund-raising body or statutory body and must receive no monetary payment, but may receive reimbursement of expenses actually incurred, or reasonably estimated to have been incurred, in carrying out the work for the employing organisation.

    For national minimum wage purposes a charity means a body of persons, or the trustees of a trust established for charitable purposes only. There is no requirement that the charity has to be a UK registered charity.

    However, workers working in the circumstances you describe, where they are paid a weekly amount, means that they do not meet the criteria to be classed as voluntary workers for national minimum wage purposes and the voluntary worker exemption will not apply.

    Section 44A describes how a worker who is a residential member of a community does not qualify for the national minimum wage in respect of employment by the community, providing that:
    the community is a charity or is established by a charity; and
    a purpose of the community is to practice, or advance a belief of a religious or similar nature, and;
    all or some of its members live together for that purpose.
    I am unable to say from the limited information in your email whether or not this will apply in the circumstances you describe.

    Therefore I am unable to advise whether or not the circumstances you describe in your email will result in a worker qualifying for the national minimum wage.

    Regards,

    National Minimum Wage eContact team.

    National Minimum Wage Helpline 0845 6000 678
    Opening hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.
    Web Site: HM Revenue & Customs: Home Page
  8. ZeLyt Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    *leans in close* I smell pus....I mean win.
  9. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Here's a copy of the press release I have sent out, stating that I am not a spokesperson for anonymous, but the originator of the online petition.

    Cult Under Investigation for Slave Wages
    An internet pressure group "Anonymous", which campaigns against the Church of Scientology, has joined forces with former employees of the Scientology cult to instigate an investigation by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into the pay practices of the organisation.

    Former employees of the Church of Scientology give accounts of unreasonable working hours for pay below the National Minimum Wage, and non-payment of National Insurance whilst in the service of the organisation. The current National Minimum Wage is currently £5.52 an hour but many ex-Scientology staff report earning just a few pounds a week. In response to their complaints, HMRC are currently reviewing the legality of the "church's" pay system under the National Minimum Wage act of 1998.

    Anonymous, who have been carrying out regular peaceful pickets of Scientology centres all over the world, is encouraging former emplyees of the controversial cult to contact the HMRC Helpline (0845 6000 678) and give details of their employment, hours, working conditions, and pay, as well as any promises or guidelines given to them before they began employment.

    When joining the Scientology sect a new staff member signs an agreement that he or she is a "volunteer", but HMRC have today confirmed to a member of Anonymous that the regular small wage payments that are made to staff "means that they do not meet the criteria to be classed as voluntary workers for national minimum wage purposes and the voluntary worker exemption will not apply".

    There is also an online petition to the Prime Minister asking that the government fully investigate the working hours, conditions, and pay of Scientology employees, and ensure that the cult comply fully with all relevant legislation.
  10. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    You missed an 'o' out of employees in the first sentence of the third paragraph.
  11. Plups Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    .
  12. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Exactly.

    So non-resident staff are not employed Under section 44A

    And HMRC have confirmed to me they are not "volunteers". This is despite anything the CofS may claim.

    All anyone who was employed by the CofS since April 1999 on a non-residential (non-SO basis) has to do is contact the Helpline on 0845 6000 678

    Tell them the nature of your employment, the nature of any pay you recieved and any commissions you received.

    Add anything that states what efforts were used to get you to work long hours, etc and any freeloader bill that you got after you left.

    I'll be at the London picket tomorrow and can talk to anyone who wants this clarifying. I'll be the pirate with the talking toy parrot!
  13. TICTpxagain Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Unfortuntely this name has been somewhat tainted for PR purposes by the fact that some douchebag spoke to the national media calling themselves David Mudkips regardsing their involvement in the 'last party on the tube' debacle.
  14. UnmaskedMan Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    I've yet to see any "Kip Mudson" quotes. Use him. He's David Mudkip's second cousin.
  15. Qball Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    ^ This

    Paying in cash with no records, or fudging the records...

    Might not be as sexy as videos of When Scilons Attack, but probably more effective.

    After all, Al Capone was brought down for tax evasion.
  16. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    HMRC are actively investigating several National Minimum Wage complaints from exes. :thumbsup:

    After Neo's successful campaign on this in Australia, (see Workplace Ombudsman - Ex Scientologist Message Board) I thought it was time to update as regards the UK.

    Anyone new to this thread or newly out, here's a summary:

    There is a National Minimum Wage helpline that you can use, especially if you have been on staff in the UK since 1995.

    The number is: 0845 6000 678.

    Or you can e-mail:
    nmw@hmrc.gov.uk

    I have found the telephone works better, because you get a quicker interaction of questions and answers.

    The Revenue are interested in the following

    * What sort of contract you signed to join staff (not the SO contract but a regular staff contract/commitment)
    * Did you pay National Insurance or tax?
    * Did you earn any Registrar, FSM or Book Sales commissions?
    * Approx how much were you paid?
    * Did you live in a Scn community or outside the org community, while you were on staff?

    They are also showing an interest in how so-called "volunteers" can be given a F/Loader bill if they fail to complete their "voluntary" contract! :roflmao:

    Here's a link to the current staff contract:
    http://www.researchthetruth.com/cosdocs-staff.pdf

    Here's a link to Larry Brennan's affidavit where he describes Scientology's "religious cloaking" in order to avoid paying National Minimum Wages amongst other reasons:
    http://crackpotpress.com/crackpot/images/stories/pdf/crs.pdf

    HMRC have confirmed to me that residentential staff living in a religious community do not qualify for the National Minimum Wage, so Seo Org members living in SO berthing probably do not qualify.

    But HMRC have also confirmed to me that non-residential staff, to be classified as "voluntary" and therefore exempt from the NMW "must recieve no monetary payment" other than reimbursement for expenses incurred. So non-SO staff appear to have a claim for the NMW.

    They conclude in their message to me:
    "However, workers working in the circumstances you describe, where they are paid a weekly amount, means that they do not meet the criteria to be classed as voluntary workers for national minimum wage purposes and the voluntary worker exemption will not apply."

    Go to it UK exes! You can phone the helpline 0845 6000 678 and make your claim!
  17. evey Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    EPIC

    amazingly good work guise :flowers:
  18. ScudMuffin Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Asagai, you trouble maker! Nice one, cult got it comming.
  19. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    asagi have you ever tried querying HMRC about the points brought up in post 121 above?
  20. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    No I haven't. HMRC are mainly concerned with the financial side of employment.

    Although my petition also asks the PM to check that human rights aren't being violated.

    Petition to: to investigate Scientology organisations operating in the UK to ensure the National Minimum Wage is being paid to their employees.

    Not sure if I've posted this already but this link below highlights points of scn employment that violate the National Minimum Wage legislation.

    Scientology Policy conflicts with US labor law

    Anyone making a claim to HMRC about their wages could quote the above to them.
  21. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    A few years ago there was a panic within the UK Scn organization because some govt agency was about to come down on them and make them pay minimum wage. I don't recall which agency, but I do know that the Scieno people that handled this were Massimo Angius (SO member in charge of Legal), Peter Hodkin (Scn's main lawyer in UK) and Richard Wilkins (Finance Director, SO member). This was a SEVERE threat at the time. In the end, the legal handling involved changing the staff contracts that new recruits sign and changing the status of employees to "volunteers". I believe all existing staff had to re-sign new contracts or sign something that signified that they understood that they are "volunteers" and not employees. All recruitment promo, all legal docs - anything that indicated that the "Church" employed people - were changed so none of it could be used against them to make them pay minimum wage. As a side comment, you would think that if you were merely a volunteer you could just walk away from the cult unharrassed, but that certainly is not the case. Anyway, all of this must be a matter of public record somewhere. If the public records of all this could be exhumed, then it could be studied to locate any chinks in their armour.
  22. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Thanks for the useful info Faceless Truth.

    We have Larry Brennan's affidavit
    http://crackpotpress.com/crackpot/images/stories/pdf/crs.pdf

    and HMRC are actively looking at this use of "volunteer". Per the legislation, "volunteers" must not receive payment and HMRC have confirmed that regular small payments put Scio staff outside the definition of "volunteer"

    They are investigating several cases and we just need to push them to apply the law.

    Faceless Truth, PM me if you have any insider info that you think would be useful.
  23. ScudMuffin Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Epic! Nice to see Polly the SParrot in your avatar :D
  24. vegnej Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Just thinking out aloud here. If the scilons are still not recognised as a charity and all there staff are so called volunteers then is there not an impasse here. Charities recruit volunteers and give expenses, scilons not charity must be paying wages, could be wrong but just a thought !!
  25. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    There is no impasse.
    As described earlier in the thread, you are either a volunteer (don't get paid at all) or you're not (get paid something, no matter how small) whatever they claim your status is. If the latter then they have to pay minimum wage, which they have not been doing.

    There is also the issue of specifically advertising for 'employees' and then only actually offering volunteer positions, which has now got them in court in Belgium, and also being investigated elsewhere.
  26. Vir Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    When it comes down to it in court calling payments "donations" or calling employess "volunteers" won't work if they are de facto payments and de facto employees. You think Scientology are the first people to try avoiding taxes and minimum wage by magical renaming?

    Look at all the tax protestors in America and how they get totally hosed in court, and how their advisors get disbarred, fined and jailed for selling fraudulent tax covers.

    Anyway, this information should be available on flyers in all raids in the UK. Perhaps we even should take out an ad in a major newspaper, or perhaps drop flyers in mailboxes if that's legal?
  27. Plups Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    It worries me that the cult might stop making even those small payments to staff in order to bring them within the definition of "volunteers".
  28. Vir Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Yeah, but although the goal is to get decent pay for staff, that would be fine too.

    If Field Staff Members and registrars stop making commissions and getting paid, then a lot of the motivation for those of them who are in it for the money goes away, and volunteers would have to become actual volunteers - or they could start getting paid at least minimum wage.

    Let's face it. The only real volunteers in Scientology are the publics who come in to do a certain amount of work each week. The "volunteers" on contract are staff members who should be paid.

    I actually know how I - had I been Scientology in the UK - would try to worm out of this one - but I even that I don't think would work.
  29. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    ^this if a poor unfortunate culty is trying to eek out an existence on £5 a week or less and finding things terrible but coping, maybe they'll finally wake up when it's taken to $0 and get some help.
    The cult actually giving minimum wage is the LAST thing I ever expected would happen from the very beginning.

    Things getting worse before they get better was inevitable from the start of chanology as the cult tightens every coffer and all security, they have never existed for the benefit of their members, so why would they think of them as the pressure increased?
  30. basil Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Maybe ask that friend of Stu Wyatt who went 'undercover' at Plymouth for the interview in response to that employment advertisment.
  31. Drums of War Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    I've had a look here at the legislation in the Netherlands, I'm disappointed that it seems different. Volunteers here can be given a weekly or monthly (forgot) compensation of no higher than 21 euro. It doesn't say anything about a minimum wage either.

    Oh well.

    It would have been nice to nail them on this in every country, although the benefit of the European Union might be that it could eventually pass a law which could damage them.
  32. AnonOrange_ Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    The way you might be able to get them is if these "volunteers" also collect unemployment insurance. I bet is rampant within the Co$
  33. Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    That would be targeting the 'volunteer' not the CoS. If they're doing that it would be off their own back, and therefore the individuals problem.

    Unless of course you believe, and could prove that the CoS is somehow encouraging that is done as a source of revenue for the cultist to use to pay for further CoS courses.
  34. ScudMuffin Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    If the volunteer is being paid and are collecting benefits then they can argue they are being mislead and didn't know that they were classed as an employee. The Co$ would land in a deep mire on the other hand.
  35. vegnej Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Just a random thought here but when i worked in the charity sector one thing which was a must was not unemployment insurance but general liability insurance. If Joe Scilon fell down the stairs of his local org then by law they should be covered for at least £5m. A bit off topic but i wonder how they get round it as well as other health and safety issues !!
  36. asagai Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    That's a good question. I wonder if the orgs have up to date Employers Liability and Public Liability insurance?
  37. ScudMuffin Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    wouldn't surprise me if they didn't. They're running an illegal show so they probably just try to cover it up and use that to say that everyone needs auditing to get more cash out the cow.
  38. vegnej Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    One further violation which i think there undertaking is cheque signatories. By that i mean since the money laundering act came in a few years ago, people signing cheques have to be vetted (to make sure there not money laundering LOL). Of course with the people blowing, especially those in finance then they must have to keep changing signatories, this all takes time of course, to get round it just forge Joe scilons signature and don't bother telling the bank. I know this as am involved in a local charity and the hoops we had to jump through to open the account and then again to change a signatory where amazing but necessary !!!
  39. jensting Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    Just another random thought: the German journalist who went undercover in Berlin org with a hidden camera at the beginning of the year got some amazing footage of how desperate the clams were to get him to sign the contract.

    So, huge amount of pressure was applied to get him to sign. Also, the moment he stopped showing up, he was barraged with phone calls to come back.

    I'm 90% sure this was for the "volunteer" type position and that the amount he was supposed to get (if the org was doing well) was tiny.

    Maybe someone who saved a copy of that video while it was up on YouTube can have a look ;-)

    Also, of course, if people who know people who are investigating in the UK could get in touch with people who know people who are investigating in Germany (if any) and encourage the investigators to talk, that could be useful too - in an ideal world.

    Best Regards

    Jens
  40. teh_platypus Member

    Re: HM Customs Want To Investigate Working wages UK - Help Needed!

    There is one Ex-Sci recenlty popped up on the brighton anon forums... i would link to it... BUT THE FORUMS ARE DOWN!!

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