Manchester City and Manchester United are being urged to up the wages of hundreds of workers to ensure that all match day staff, contracted by the clubs, are paid the Living Wage.
The joint plea comes from Greater Manchester Labour mayoral candidate Ivan Lewis MP and the Living Wage Campaign.
As many as 1,000 match day staff at each club, such as cleaners, caterers and turnstile operators, are estimated to be earning less than £8.25-an-hour – the amount needed for a basic standard of living and life above the poverty line – compared to the salaries of top players, like Wayne Rooney, who earns approximately £1,488-an-hour – around 180 times as much – and Sergio Aguero who earns £1,309-an-hour – over 150 times as much.
United players are paid an average £476-an-hour and City players an average £595-an-hour – 60 and 75 times more than the living wage.
Bury South MP, Ivan Lewis, who is bidding to become the first Greater Manchester mayor, has joined forces with the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign in a push that would see the region’s two big clubs lead by example, ensuring that all match day contractors pay staff the living wage (£1.75 above the £6.50 national minimum wage.)
They have jointly written to both clubs asking for a commitment, by the time the two teams meet in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on March 20, to become accredited Living Wage employers.
Ivan said: “City and United are enormous assets to Greater Manchester and their fans are rightly proud of their footballing success at home and abroad. However, when you see the wage packets of top players compared to the cleaners, caterers and turnstile staff who all contribute to the match day experience, the inequality is stark.
“As a football fan, I am asking both clubs to lead by example and commit to using only Living Wage contractors by becoming Living Wage accredited employers.
“If elected Mayor I have already made it clear that I will work with businesses, Trade Unions and public services to fight inequality and ensure Greater Manchester leads the country in paying a proper living wage.”
“When I use my season ticket at the Etihad for the derby this month I will want to know, as will supporters of both teams, that the people who are working hard that day, in whatever capacity, are being paid enough to enjoy a basic standard of living.”
The Premier League has pledged that all clubs will pay the Living Wage – the amount that independent experts say is the bare minimum for a basic standard of living, outside poverty – to those directly employed by them by the start of the 2016-17 season. However, this does not cover the large numbers of contracted staff that also work on match days. It is thought that around 40,000 people staffing matches across the whole of the Premier League are currently earning less than the Living Wage.
By comparison, Sky has a new £5billion viewing deal with the Premier League including £10 million for TV rights to future derby games.
Tom Skinner, from the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign, said: “We all acknowledge and applaud the great work already being done by both clubs in the community, from the regeneration of large parts of east Manchester by Man City – in partnership with Manchester City Council – to the outreach and charity work by Man United. We also acknowledge the steps made by both clubs in ensuring that their directly employed staff are paid the Living Wage, ahead of the Premier League’s schedule.
“However, this commitment has not yet been extended to all contracted and subcontracted staff who make up the majority of match day staff. At the Manchester derby therefore, and at home games for both teams, hundreds of match day staff such as cleaning and catering staff are still not being paid the Living Wage.
“We and therefore urging City and United to join the growing number of local councils, businesses and charities already committed to pay the Living Wage to both their directly employed and outsourced staff, by seeking accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation