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Six Nations Rugby: hundreds of stadium staff on poverty pay

An investigation by community leaders today reveals widespread in-work poverty amongst stadium workers at rugby, football, cricket and other sports stadiums across the UK. Workers in sports and leisure are twice as likely to be trapped in working poverty, with 2 in 5 jobs in the sector paid below the real Living Wage, despite multi-million-pound salaries at the top of sport . That's double the national average, which estimates 1 in 5 jobs across the country pay below the real Living Wage.

Community leaders working with Citizens Cymru Wales went undercover to talk to Principality Stadium workers, the home of the Welsh national team, and found many staff being paid minimum wage who reported struggling to stay afloat financially. The investigation estimated at least 200 workers are being paid wages lower than the independently calculated real Living Wage, calculated to meet the real cost of Living. Jobs at England's Twickenham and Scotland's Murrayfield stadium are also being advertised at minimum wage jobs for upcoming games.

The report comes as a new poll by Survation shows widespread public support for top-flight clubs to do more to tackle poverty pay. 7 in 10 people (68%) agreed they wanted top clubs and sporting bodies to prioritise paying the real Living Wage to all staff and go beyond the Government minimum.

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Six Nations: none of our home nation stadiums are Living Wage Employers, leaving stadium workers including cleaners, stewards, caterers and security guards struggling to keep their heads above water financially

A report published by Citizens UK today uncovers the true picture of poverty amongst stadium workers in elite sports clubs.

Despite the growing profits in rugby (the Welsh Rugby Union announced record turnover of £97m last year) and packed stadiums for the launch of the Six Nations this weekend, not one of our home nation’s stadiums – Twickenham, Murrayfield or Principality – are paying all their stadium workers the real Living Wage.

Meanwhile in Premier League football, only 4 or 20 clubs pay the real Living Wage. As many as ten thousand football workers may be trapped on poverty pay across the other 16 clubs.

Today new polling from Survation showed huge public backing for change by the top clubs and elite sporting institutions, with 7 in 10 people saying they expected these bodies to pay a real Living Wage to staff, as it was revealed 42% of all workers in sport are paid below the Living Wage.

Welsh Rugby's Principality Stadium asked to do more to tackle low pay

A real Living Wage audit, conducted by Citizens Cymru leaders, at the Principality Stadium found that around 200 workers, predominantly cleaners and catering staff, at the stadium were earning poverty wages. This is despite the fact stadium itself turned over £74.9m last year and Welsh rugby union players get paid around £5,300 as an appearance fee alone, a salary that would take a cleaner around 677 hours or 19 weeks to match.

Jo Stevens MP said: "It's not radical to say that every job in Wales should pay enough to live on. Welsh rugby upholds the highest standards on and off the pitch and on the eve of the 6 Nations, the Principality Stadium has the chance to make a massive difference to the lives of the people who work hard in the stadium to make the tournament a success by stepping up and paying the real Living Wage."

One Principality stadium cleaner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said : “It is a hard job working at Principality Stadium. The shifts are long, and you are on your feet all day. We would love to be paid a real Living Wage, it would make a huge difference to my life.”

Matthew Bolton, Executive Director of Citizens UK, said : “Ending the injustice of poverty means giving workers a wage based on the real cost of living. People shouldn’t have to hold down two or three jobs to stay afloat. Sports stadiums have a key role in the local economy and can bring hundreds, or thousands, of people out of poverty by going real Living Wage.”

Donate to the Living Wage fighting fund - help us reveal more stories of low pay and encourage more employers to change the lives of their staff by paying a Living Wage fit to live on.

Posted on 4 Feb, 2019