On the eve of Living Wage Week community organising charity Citizens UK is launching a Low Pay League Table to highlight the grotesque inequality in football. Stadium workers at 18 of the 20 Premier League clubs are earning less than the real Living Wage - despite the clubs having annual turnovers of hundreds of millions of pounds.
The staff affected include cleaners, security guards, and caterers with some earning less than £7.00 per hour, with under 25s as little as £6.50 per hour - significantly less than the real Living Wage of £8.45 per hour which is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation to reflect the true cost of living in the UK.
Astonishingly, it would take one of these workers over 20 years to earn the £290,000 Man Utd striker Paul Pogba earns in one week. At Arsenal, Mezut Ozil, earning £190,000 a week, makes more in 45 minutes than a full-time steward on £7.00 an hour would make in a month.* At many clubs third party contractors on pay as low as £7.00 an hour outnumber the clubs own staff, who are often paid higher salaries.
In response to this, Citizens UK is launching a national campaign aimed at encouraging all clubs to end this inequality and pay all their staff a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living.
The campaign launches Friday 27th October 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, will hand in a letter to executive chairwoman Donna-Maria Cullen to request a meeting to discuss accrediting as a Living Wage employer.
Tottenham, one of the Premier League’s wealthiest clubs, with a turnover of £196 million, broke their transfer record this summer with £42 million spent on 21-year-old defender Davinson Sanchez.
The letter encourages the club to pay all its staff and contractors the London Living Wage as they this month begin to tender out cleaning and security contracts ready for next August’s move back into the redeveloped White Hart Lane. Currently contractors at the Wembley Stadium being used by Spurs as their temporary home are paid well under the Living Wage at £8.00 an hour. Previous staff at White Hart Lane with third party contractors have been paid as little as £7.50 an hour.
In a welcome response to the letter, Tottenham yesterday confirmed they will move towards paying a London Living Wage for all staff and future tenders for contractors.
Further actions by chapters of Citizens UK are being planned at Premier League club matches across the country over the course of the football season.
Neil Jameson, Executive Director of Citizens UK said:
“Football is big business and its 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.”
David Lammy MP said:
“All employers in my constituency should pay the London Living Wage, and this is particularly important for one of the largest employers in my constituency. Tottenham Hotspur is an absolutely essential part of the local economy here in Tottenham and a pillar of our local community. As a proud Spurs fan I am hopeful that Tottenham Hotspur can reach an agreement with Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation to ensure that all staff, including subcontracted or temporary staff, are paid the London Living Wage.”
Rev’d Olubumni Fagbemi, a Haringey Citizens Leader and priest at Holy Trinity Church said:
“It would be a real boon if the promised 3700 new jobs at the new White Hart Lane were to be London Living Wage. Premier League clubs have a moral responsibility to pay their staff enough to live on. This has been recognised at London Stadium, home of West Ham United, following Citizens UK’s campaign victory there.”