Young people from the Wembley area have undertaken research to reveal shocking pay-gap their parents, some of whom work at the stadium, face and met outside the Stadium to sing Living Wage themed football chants [Watch video]
Campaigners are inviting the Minister for Sport and fans to support call for Chairman Greg Clarke to put forward a plan to implement the real Living Wage at the FA’s next board meeting.
Over 2,000 workers are reported to receive below the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour, with the majority as low as £7.50 an hour with those under 18 earning even less.
Pressure is mounting on the Football Association’s Chairman Greg Clarke to put his organisation’s mission statement into practice when it comes to his diverse low-paid workforce at Wembley Stadium.
Questions being asked about the FA's commitment to ensuring quality of life for hard-working staff from Wembley’s local community, which faces high levels of deprivation.
Brent Citizens, part of the community organising charity Citizens UK, is launching its Living Wage For All Campaign to call on the FA to pay ALL of its staff a real Living Wage.
Last year’s rebranding saw the FA commit to being an organisation For All by “supporting football for all people at all levels”. But research carried out by local school children have found this message doesn’t extend to cleaners, bar staff or security guards more commonly from migrant backgrounds at Wembley Stadium who are struggling to make ends meet for their families on poverty wages as low as £7.50 an hour.
Carlos, who wishes to remain anonymous, lives in Willesden and worked during England’s friendly with Italy on Tuesday:
“I work as a cleaner at Wembley Stadium with many other Brazilians. I work night shifts and usually work long hours cleaning the Stadium in the days before and after a match. We take pride in our work and think it is important for the national stadium but we don’t feel valued by the FA. £7.50 an hour is simply not enough to live on in London. I live with my wife and young son and £10.20 would mean we would have less stress about paying the bills and could start saving some money for my son’s future.”
Stadium workers like Carlos have been working with Brent Citizens - an alliance of schools, faith organisations and charities - and have written to the Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch and their local MP Dawn Butler to ask for their support for the campaign.
Leader of Brent Council, Cllr Muhammed Butt said:
“The London Living Wage is really important to be paid to every person in Brent to make sure that they have a decent standard of living for their families. The FA and every organisation in Brent should be paying the London Living Wage. Its the decent and fairest thing to do.”
Young people from Ark Academy School, just a few hundred yards from the Stadium, have made Living Wage-themed football chants for social media and are calling for fans across the country to support their campaign online.
Stephen O’Carroll, Assistant Principal at Ark Academy, said the campaign action was prompted by pupils worried about the pay of family members working at Wembley. He said:
“We have sixth formers working every hour they can get at Wembley to support their mothers who are already working two jobs. This isn’t about pocket money - it’s about choosing to pay the rent, putting the heating on or eating together as a family.”
“If young people can’t go to school to learn without worrying if their mum, dad, auntie or uncle has enough money to survive, there is something very wrong with the FA’s impact on our communities.”
Jasono, who wishes to remain anonymous, is 18 and works in catering at the Stadium for Delaware North.
“I grew up in a dangerous part of Portugal but came to London five years ago for a better future with my mother and twin brother. She works two low-paid jobs so my brother and I do as much agency work as possible at Wembley and other stadiums working 2 or 3 nights a week while we study. We sell food to fans to help put food on our own table and pay our family’s rent. ”
Citizens UK’s Living Wage Campaign has seen over 4,000 businesses accredit with the Living Wage Foundation - including West Ham recently joining Chelsea and Everton as the only Living Wage Premier League clubs.
Michael Pugh, Living Wage Community Organiser at Citizens UK, said:
“The FA’s For All strategy currently includes nothing on how to tackle in-work poverty in their workforce and the local community. If the FA is to become the responsible employer the national game deserves they must pay the real Living Wage to all its staff - including its subcontracted workers who are the real face of the organisation on match-days at Wembley. We are calling on Greg Clarke and the Board to discuss the matter at the earliest opportunity”