Citizens UK, the national community organising charity and home of the Living Wage campaign has this morning (11th December 2014) welcomed the news that Chelsea FC has become the first accredited Premier League Football Club, alongside Heart of Midlothian (Hearts) FC who has accredited as a Living Wage employer in Scotland.
This afternoon Citizens UK campaigners will gather at the head offices of the Premier League in London, to celebrate the announcement from Chelsea FC, and to call upon chief executive, Richard Scudamore to champion the Living Wage across the football sector, starting by making the Premier League Ltd. an accredited Living Wage employer. The campaigners will be singing adapted Christmas Carols making the request.
Chris Hannington, Citizens UK member and Living Wage Football campaigner, said:
“I’m passionate about football and social justice, and I don’t see why my passions can’t be combined through the payment of the Living Wage to all staff that work at Premier League clubs.
“We’ve been campaigning for over two years; encouraging football clubs to pay their staff a wage that means they can live, not simply exist hand to mouth, always worrying about the next bill.
“All credit to Chelsea, and as an Arsenal season ticket holder, I'm gutted that Arsenal didn't put their values into practice. Once again they’ve beaten us to the top of the table but we can equalise and accredit as a Living Wage employer too.”
The Living Wage is a voluntary scheme. It is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University, whilst in the capital the rate is set by the Greater London Authority and is based on a combination of a basic living costs approach and income distribution, with respect to a variety of household types which takes account the unique circumstances of living in London.
Employers are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, an initiative of Citizens UK. The Living Wage enjoys cross-party support and there are now over 1,000 accredited organisations, including high street names such as Nestle and Nationwide as well as independent businesses ranging from CTS Cleaning to building contractors, Hodgson Sayers.
Citizens UK lead organiser, and author of the Citizens UK report on poverty wages in the Premier League Sophie Stephens, said: “We are delighted that Chelsea FC have today accredited as a Living Wage employer. At a time when over half of those families in poverty are also working, the Living Wage is one way to help improve the situation in thousands of homes across the country.
“Football clubs have been at the heart of the Citizens UK Living Wage Campaign for three years. Our members feel it is important that these community hubs support the workers that make the match day experience special for so many fans. The amounts of money involved in football make the situation of the lowest paid even more stark when compared to the earnings of top flight strikers and CEOs.”