LONDON (Reuters) - Domino's Pizza (DOM.L), the country's biggest pizza delivery firm, should pay better wages if it is struggling to fill job vacancies rather than seeking a relaxation of immigration rules, said a British government minister.
The chief executive of Domino's British franchise, Lance Batchelor, told the London Evening Standard newspaper this week that his firm was struggling to find workers after a tightening of immigration rules.
Batchelor had appealed to the government to allow his firm to bring in unskilled workers from outside the EU, saying Domino's could hire 1,000 workers immediately.
"He should perhaps pay his staff a little more and then he might find it easier to recruit them ... He runs a profitable business, he should pay what the market demands," said Mark Harper, the government minister in charge of immigration.
"I don't think that we should import relatively unskilled labor from outside the European Union just so that he (Batchelor) can keep his wages low," Harper told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Domino's is a franchise of U.S. group Domino's Pizza Inc (DPZ), operating around 800 stores in Britain and Ireland, employing more than 23,000 staff. It aims to open 50 new branches per year.
The group reported pretax profit of 46.7 million pounds in 2012, up 10.8 percent.
A company spokesman said that due to the company's franchise structure, he was not able to provide data on rates of pay. He declined to comment further.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)