Premier League clubs face pressure to extend living wage to agency workers
Premier League clubs will face government pressure to pay the living wage to all their staff, including casual and contract workers, after a campaign by the Labour MP Frank Field and others.
It is understood that the sports minister, Tracey Crouch, will use her next meeting with Premier League bosses, soon after Easter, to make the case that clubs that pay such huge sums to players should ensure all workers are paid at least the so-called real living wage.
Field said he hoped the league could provide an example to other wealthy industries such as banking and finance.
Currently four of the league’s 20 teams – Everton, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool – have committed to paying all staff at least the real living wage, which is set by the Living Wage Foundation at around £1 an hour higher than the government’s measure.
The first of those three have been officially accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, and Liverpool are in talks to follow suit, having announced late last year their intention to pay the wage to all staff. The rate is currently set at £10.20 per hour in London and £8.75 per hour elsewhere.
In December, Field led an initiative in which 14 MPs wrote to their local Premier League teams urging them also to pay the real living wage.
“If four of them can do it, why can’t all of them do it?” Field said. “What we’ve tried to do in this campaign is show that an industry which is doing very well can pay, and should pay, the living wage to everybody who’s working in it, even if they’re at arm’s length, through agencies.
“If we can show one sector which has the money can do it, we can then challenge other sectors of British industry, for example finance and banking. They could commit that everybody, right down the supply chain, will get the real living wage.”
Andrew Forsey, from Field’s team, said other teams had been “making the right noises” on the living wage. “But so far only four have given a firm commitment that all staff, regardless of whether they’re in-house or outsourced, are receiving the real living wage,” he said.
“It’s been disappointing. We first raised this in 2014. They responded quite quickly in getting a voluntary commitment to pay the living wage to all in-house staff, which was great. What was slightly disappointing is the second part has taken at least three years and counting.”
Forsey said that if Premier League teams agreed to the move, he and Field were likely to start putting pressure on clubs in the next tier down, the Championship. “We want the Premier League to be a beacon for workers’ wages,” he said.
A Premier League spokesman said all clubs paid permanent staff the living wage under a commitment that has been in place since 2016. “It is up to individual clubs if they choose if to go beyond that in terms of the third-party contracts that they have,” he said.Peter Walker, The Guardian