London Living Wage and Premiership Football Club

MQT on 2016-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2016
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Following on from his recent uprating of the London Living Wage, will the Mayor join me in urging London's Premier League Football Clubs - from the richest league in the world - to pay the London Living Wage to all employees, including contracted-out staff?


Answer for London Living Wage and Premiership Football Club

Answer for London Living Wage and Premiership Football Club

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I thank Assembly Member Arnold for this question?  I know that for years you have been campaigning on this very important issue.


Yes, absolutely.  More than 1,000 accredited employers in London are learning that paying the London Living Wage can reduce absenteeism and sick leave.  It can make it easier to recruit and retain the best staff and it can help to boost productivity, making the capital’s businesses even more competitive.  I will continue to make this case to employers across London, including Premiership football clubs, and encourage them to follow the great example set by Chelsea and now Everton in becoming accredited Living Wage employers.


Success in football is all about building a great team.  That is why I am asking London’s Premier League clubs to show that they value the whole of their teams.  I would respectfully suggest that if you can afford to pay a footballer hundreds of pounds an hour, you should be able to afford to pay the person who serves fans their food or cleans the stadium at least £9.75 an hour.


Over the last five years since the launch of the Living Wage Foundation in 2011, London’s economy has continued to go from strength to strength.  There are now over 700,000 more jobs in the capital.  The value of our economy has grown by over £50 billion.  For the first time in London’s history, there are over 1 million businesses based here.


However, this success does not reveal the full picture.  Over the same period, the average wage in London has increased by only 7% whilst the cost of living has soared at a much faster rate.  House prices have increased by nearly 50%.  Private rents have gone up by nearly 20%.  The cost of childcare has increased by 25%.  On top of this, one in eight London households are now spending more than half their income on housing costs.


I believe that the London Living Wage remains one of the strongest mechanisms we have for challenging poverty pay.  The previous Mayor deserves credit for his backing of a high-profile campaign, which built on his manifesto commitment in this area.  I was pleased to announce at the end of last month that the new London Living Wage is now £9.75 per hour and I am glad to say that we are well on track to seeing it rise to over £10 an hour during my mayoralty.  As Mayor, I am determined to lead by example and so City Hall and mayoral bodies will pay the London Living Wage for our own staff and for contractors.


My long-term aim is to make London the world’s first “Living Wage City”, a city where everyone gets paid enough to provide a decent standard of living, a city where it is a badge of pride for employers to pay the London Living Wage.  I am planning a new compact with employers that will recognise and reward those who pay the London Living Wage and maintain high employment standards.  I believe that this is the best way forward in London.  In many cases, I hope that we will not need carrots or sticks because paying the London Living Wage is not just the right and moral thing to do but it makes good business sense, too.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  Thank you for that.  What a difference a Labour Mayor makes.  That is my starting point here this morning.


I accept what you said about the former Mayor and I give him credit.  I was at the first-ever meeting that he did at Canary Wharf and one of his first acts was to increase the London Living Wage and to pick that up from the first Mayor.  It is good to see that continuity through the mayoralties.  However, what he did not do was to go the extra mile.  Indeed, when I raised this with him, he accused me of getting involved in the politics of envy.  Raising this, as you have identified, as an issue of social justice in terms of the differences in our city is the right thing to do.


We have, as an Assembly, done this work time and time again and we recently passed a motion.  We had feedback from that and one of the things we heard from the Premier League CEO was a commitment to urge all football clubs to pay the London Living Wage, but he talked about fulltime staff.


This is the problem here.  When you look at the staff employed in the areas that you mentioned and are of concern to me, those essential workers who clean the stadiums - without a clean stadium you could not have a football club - and who feed the supporters and who deal with the facilities of the clubs - you could not bring on your super-duper footballer if this work was not done.  They are part-timers outside of the London Living Wage.  To compound that, many of the football clubs, as you will appreciate, employ these very grades of staff through contract agencies.


You have shown leadership across the GLA group and you have said, “Irrespective of who you are employed by, if you are a contractor, if you are a part-timer, you will be paid the London Living Wage”.  Will you join with the Assembly and repeat the conversations with the Premier League CEO about looking to get the Premier League [to do that]?  I say Premier League football clubs because, if they do it, then the others will follow.  Indeed, when you look at the turnover from Everton, if Everton can do it, then certainly Arsenal - my own football club - can do it, Tottenham can do it, Crystal Palace can do it and West Ham can do it.  I would ask you to agree to work in with the Assembly on this and to carry on so that we can get these Premier League football clubs to do the right thing.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I thank you for what you said?  Just to underscore what you said, we knew that our staff were being paid the London Living Wage but, as a result of information given to us by trade unions, we have discovered that subcontractors were not being paid the London Living Wage.  We have put that right.  I have tasked my Deputy Mayors and senior City Hall staff to make sure we root out any examples of others not being paid the London Living Wage.


You are right.  People selling programmes on match day or selling pies or burgers who are independent contractors in many of these Premier League clubs are not getting paid the London Living Wage.  I felt so strongly about this that I campaigned with the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, outside Highbury and even put on an Arsenal scarf ‑‑


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  What a day for you.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ which got me ribbed hugely, but it is really important.  For somebody who, like me, is a football fan, the fact that only Derby, Everton, Chelsea, Luton and Hearts are accredited to pay the Living Wage embarrasses me as a football fan.  You are being quite generous by referring only to Premier League clubs.  Some of the clubs I have referred to - Derby, Hearts and Luton - are not English Premier League clubs and they pay the Living Wage.


We should be saying to the London Premier League clubs at the very least to pay the Living Wage.  I am happy, Assembly Member Arnold, to write to them along the lines that you and I have discussed to make this point.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  Thank you very much.  I would just like to put on record the difference between the salary of one of the top highest-paid players in London, £190,000 a week - if he was doing a 40-hour week, it would mean that he would be paid £4,750 per hour - versus, if you are lucky, £6.50 per hour.  That cannot be right.  Thank you.


I did have then a question, if I may, Chairman, just carrying on about the London Living Wage in general.  It was just to welcome the work that you have done to date and to urge you to make sure that workers - the part-time workers particularly - across our great city are included in the upgrade that you are committed to using the London Living Wage.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  On that, just to reassure the Assembly of my commitment, I have asked my statutory Deputy Mayor, Joanne McCartney, to sit on the Living Wage Commission to make sure that we have taken on board the points that you referred to.  What is going to form part and parcel of the compact is not only going to be the issue of part-time workers but how we tackle the gender pay gap, how we create more opportunities for young Londoners through apprenticeships and how we take steps to ensure a fair deal for parents returning to work, which I know is something that you also care very deeply about.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair):  Yes, thank you very much, Mayor.  Thank you, Chairman.


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Thank you very much.