MPs put fresh pressure on mega-rich Premier League clubs to pay ALL staff the Real Living Wage

Daily Mirror - 07 Dec 2017

Mega-rich Premier League clubs come under fresh pressure today to pay all their staff the Real Living Wage.

Fourteen top-flight clubs' local MPs have written to the League's chief executive Richard Scudamore urging him to give workers a raise.

Premier League bosses agreed in 2015 to pay full-time staff the voluntary Real Living Wage, which is above the legal minimum and currently £8.75 (£10.20 in London).

But so far just West Ham, Chelsea and Everton have extended the offer to contractors and agency staff, like cleaners and match-day workers. Liverpool also agreed to pay the rate to its casual staff, who it employs directly.

West Ham join Chelsea and Everton as third Premier League club to pay staff voluntary living wage

Campaigners are pushing other clubs to follow suit after the 20 top-tier teams raked in a combined £3.6billion last season.

The MPs urged Mr Scudamore to raise the issue at the League's next shareholders' meeting in February.

In their letter, seen by the Mirror, they write: "The Premier League clubs in our constituencies are huge local employers at the heart of our local economies.

"Tens of thousands of workers [are] undertaking security, retail, catering and hospitality jobs every match day.

"Despite the record sums of money being generated by the Premier League, as well as the generous wages this has enabled clubs to pay their players, a large proportion of those match day jobs pay low wages."

The letter says clubs that agreed to pay the Real Living Wage so far have "lit a beacon" that others should follow.

It adds: "[They] have shown how to ensure the poorest workers, who are absolutely vital to the running of each club, can receive a fair share of the billions of pounds that are pouring into the Premier League."

The 13 MPs who signed the letter, all from Labour, were led by Birkenhead MP Frank Field.

They include Leicester City's local MP Jon Ashworth, Newcastle United's Chi Onwurah, Manchester United's Kate Green, West Brom's John Spellar, Crystal Palace's Steve Reed and David Lammy, whose Tottenham seat includes White Hart Lane.

Others are Swansea's Carolyn Harris, Southampton's Alan Whitehead, Burnley's Julie Cooper, Huddersfield's Barry Sheerman, Brighton's Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, welcomed the letter.

Praising West Ham, Everton and Chelsea she said: "These clubs recognise that the Living Wage badge is a mark of a responsible employer, and join a movement supported by fans throughout the country.

"We now need to see more clubs follow suit and commit to provide a fair day's pay for a hard day's work."

A Premier League spokesman said: "All Premier League clubs run a range of community programmes and support local schools and sports facilities on a huge scale. They also generate significant local employment and in 2016 decided to go beyond statutory requirements by paying their permanent staff at least the Living Wage. 

"Whether individual clubs choose to have other employment arrangements beyond these commitments is a matter for them to consider. "They of course observe all legal employment requirements including meeting the Minimum Wage obligations set by Parliament and Government."

Dan Bloom, Daily Mirror