Immigrant groups are calling for more prosecutions and the naming and shaming of employers who are paying their staff below the minimum wage.

Over the last two years there has only been one prosecution from almost 300 employers who were found to be paying their workers below the minimum wage.

Senator Alan Kelly, Labour party, says that there is no deterrent so employers who think they can get away with paying below minimum wage will do just that.

Reporter Adrian Lydon explains that the minimum wage is supposed to reduce exploitation and ensure that workers can afford what are considered the basic necessities. The minimum wage of €8.35 per hour is enshrined in Irish law, but employers who ignore it are not being punished. Despite an increase in the number of inspectors, there were over 250 fewer workplace inspections last year than there were in 2006. Lydon points out that it is immigrants who face most exploitation especially those working in the catering, agriculture and domestic sectors.

Bill Abom, from the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, describes a case of one worker who worked 60 hours a week for a take-home pay of just €50. A spokesman for the national employment rights authority who carry out the inspections said that in the majority of cases employers rectify the breaches and pay arrears due to employees without prosecution.

Immigrant groups argue that this is not good enough and are calling for greater prosecutions and the naming and shaming of employers in breach of the law.