Cash rich clubs rapped in ‘living wage’ dispute

A report carried out by Citizens UK highlights that stadium workers at 18 of the 20 Premier League clubs are earning less than the ‘real’ living wage, even though clubs are recording annual turnovers of millions of pounds.

Stadium workers, which includes roles such as cleaners, hospitality staff and stewards, are reported be earning less than £7 per hour at most of top flight clubs, with under 25s recouping as little as £6.50 per hour, substantially less than the £8.45 per hour recommended by the Living Wage foundation which calculates the true cost of living in the UK.

Interestingly, it would take one of these stadium workers 20 years to earn the £290,000 which Manchester United’s top earner Paul Pogba earns in just one week.  Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, three out of the four traditional top clubs find themselves in the bottom half of the low pay table.  To tackle this, Citizens UK have launched a national campaign directed towards clubs and encouraging them to end this equality and pay all their staff real living wage that meets the cost of living.

The campaign was launched in October 2017 with an action at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane Stadium.  Living Wage campaigners and Tottenham residents from London Citizens, the London branch of Citizens UK, handed in a letter to Executive Director Donna-Maria Cullen to request a meeting to discuss accrediting as a Living Wage employer.

The letter encouraged Spurs to pay all its staff and contractors the London living wage as the process begins imminently for the tender for cleaning and security contracts for next summer’s move back into their new N17 home.  Currently, contractors at the Wembley Stadium being used by Spurs as their temporary home, are paid well under the living wage at £8 an hour.   Previous staff at White Hart Lane with third-party contractors have been paid as little as £7.50 an hour.

In response to the letter, Spurs have agreed to pay a London living wage for all staff and future tenders for contractors.

Citizens UK have now planned further actions at other Premier League Clubs over the course of football season.

Neil Jameson, Executive Director of Citizens UK, said, “Football is big business and it’s clear that these clubs can more than afford to pay all their workers a real living wage.

“It’s a scandal that workers at football clubs are left struggling to make ends meet at the same time as footballers have secured huge pay rises. Chelsea and Everton are setting the standard on low pay by accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation and paying a higher, voluntary rate.

“We would urge all fans and their communities to get behind our campaign for all Premier League Clubs to pay a real living wage.”

Adrian Wright CEO of Sporting Group International said, “Having worked for two professional football clubs, I fully appreciate the dilemma of what clubs have to consider conforming to what is deemed appropriate. I do not believe Premier League football clubs should be judged for not paying real Living Wage based on their revenues alone. The same question could be posed for all major organisations with high revenues operating in the UK. Premier League clubs contribute a significant amount of money to the exchequer already, based on their employer national insurance contributions from their player wage bills.

Premier League living wages