‘Bah! Humbugs’ – New Citizens UK Report on Poverty Wages in the Premier League

Today Citizens UK releases a hard hitting report that reveals the stark comparison between the low wages of catering, cleaning and security staff at Britain’s top football clubs and the huge net worth of club owners, remuneration packages of top CEOs and the exuberant wages of top players.

Download the report here.

Citizens UK is calling for Premier League football clubs to meet with Citizens UK, local fan groups and the Living Wage Foundation and to begin the process of becoming accredited Living Wage Employers. At this festive time of year, the report highlights the difficulties some families will face surviving on poverty wages at Christmas. Citizens UK is urging senior directors, players and fans to make their clubs Living Wage Employers as a way of honouring all the cleaners, ticket collectors and many more who make every match day special.

In the report, Citizens UK estimates it would take a cleaner 13 years to earn what top footballers earn each week at Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City. The Premier League has the highest revenue of any football league in the world and the average salary for a Premier League CEO last year was £215,879. This is 43% higher than the average salary for a director of a similar sized company outside the Premier League. 500 organisations are now accredited Living Wage Employers but there is currently not a single football club.

Throughout 2013, members of Citizens UK have been trying to meet with senior executives at a range of Premier League clubs to seek firm commitments to becoming Living Wage Employers.

Chris Harrington, a member of North London Citizens, said:
“I am over 60 years an Arsenal supporter and involved in Fanshare. At the Arsenal AGM on 17th October, I called on Arsenal to adopt a commitment to the London Living Wage. Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal CEO, recognised that the London Living Wage was ‘incredibly well intentioned’ but replied that ‘the issue is complex and political and in any case Arsenal benefits packages are generous in market terms’. What Arsenal must be made to realise is that LLW is right, just and economically sound and is a public policy here to stay. And that we in Citizens UK will not give up and go away”

The Citizens UK report includes a Living Wage Premier League table. Manchester City is topping the league as the club has already met with local fans and agreed to bring all its internally employed staff, interns and apprentices onto the Living Wage. Tottenham Hotspur is in second place because of their positive statements on the Living Wage and some attempts to engage with Citizens UK locally.

However, many clubs are currently without a point on the board so the championship remains open. With several months left of the season, Citizens UK hopes to continue to raise this issue until at least one club takes the brave and moral step to becoming the first accredited Living Wage football club.

Citizens UK is not just targeting the football clubs this Christmas. On Thursday, members of Citizens UK will be delivering a birthday gift to Charlie Mayfield, CEO of John Lewis and seeking a meeting with him to revive the possibility of John Lewis taking a leading role in the retail sector by bringing their cleaners up to the Living Wage. 150 people, many dressed as bears and hares, will be joining together to wish Charlie Mayfield and staff at John Lewis a Merry Christmas on Thursday afternoon.

Download the report here.

1. The Living Wage campaign, launched in 2001, calls on employers that can afford it, to pay above the National Minimum Wage to help families to cope with the increasing costs of living. The Greater London Authority set the London Living Wage – currently £8.80 in contrast to the National Minimum Wage of £6.31 for over 21s. The Centre for Research and Social Policy, Loughborough University, sets the national Living Wage – currently £7.65.

2. Citizens UK is a civic alliance of more than 350 community organisations working together to make change for the common good. In 2001, members of Citizens UK founded the Living Wage campaign. The campaign was started by parents in east end of London who wanted to remain in work but found that despite working two or more minimum wage jobs they were struggling to make ends meet and had no time left for family or community life.

3. Citizens UK has a track record of winning other campaigns including CITIZENS FOR SANCTUARY, which has persuaded the Home Office to invest more than £750,000 in the renovation of the UK’s largest immigration centre; CITYSAFE, an urban project linking community-rooted organisations with youth and shopkeepers, which has created 300 CitySafe havens across the capital; and an OLYMPICS LEGACY campaign which has negotiated a series of Peoples’ Guarantees including a £2m local academy for construction workers and more connecting more than 1500 people into Living Wage Olympic jobs. More information at www.citizensuk.org

1. London Citizens ‘Walk for Witness’ at John Lewis, will be held from 2pm – 4pm on Thursday 19th December. For more information and to book a place to attend, please contact Neil Jameson, email neil.jameson@citizensuk.org.uk, tel. 07710 468930.

2. To arrange interviews with Citizens UK leaders or for more information on the Citizens UK Report, please contact Sophie Stephens, email sophie.stephens@citizensuk.org.uk, tel. 0787 202 7621.

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Posted in Citizens UK, Community Organising, Living Wage Campaign, London Citizens, North London Citizens, Press Release, Publications