Since the formation of Labour Friends of Football, our Co-Founder and Vice-Chair, Andrew Pope, has been thinking long and hard about what policies should appear in the 2015 Labour General Election Manifesto. We are publishing some suggestions for national policy that tie in with Labour’s national campaigns – and we want to hear your views on them, and your ideas. Get in touch!
The Justification for The Living Wage
We believe that there are unacceptably high disparities between players wages and the average national wage. There are also huge imbalances between players wages and the pay of other people working at football clubs that employ professional, full-time footballers.
Correspondence via @LabourFootball Twitter seems to suggest that not many (if anY) clubs currently pay the Living Wage, but that Labour supporters want it. This should follow anyway, since Labour nationally is committed to encouraging the Living Wage, and has announced an incentive for employers for the first year of a Labour Government.
Labour-controlled councils such as Southampton and Islington have also committed to the Living Wage, as well as encouraging their partner organisations to pay it too. Some councils and employers have attained, or are working towards, being certified by the Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage Employer.
At grassroots levels, we understand that money is very tight, and that volunteering by fans and the local community is often the only form of work. Therefore we would not seek to introduce the Living Wage on those small clubs that do not employ any professional, full-time footballers. This would generally mean that all clubs below the Skrill Premier would not be affected, as most clubs at that level of the non-league Pyramid are not professional clubs.
This policy would therefore affect all clubs in the Premier League and Football League (the top four divisions of English football), and those that are in the Skrill Premier or below that employ any professional, full-time footballers, and which employ non-playing staff.
1. We feel that if a club can afford to pay any player a full-time wage, it should also pay its staff the minimum of the Living Wage. This is in-keeping with Labour’s national policy of encouraging employers, rather than imposing a legally-enforceable national Living Wage.
2. We also believe that, as football clubs are at the heart of communities, like councils, that they should encourage their partner organisations to pay the Living Wage. This may be from a formal certification process such as by the Living Wage Foundation, but we do not prescribe that – what is more important is that active steps are taken to promote the Living Wage.
Football clubs are the heart, or should be the heart, of communities – like local authorities, they should be leading local communities and business with social goods to build healthy communities that are proud.
Councillor Andrew Pope,
Vice-Chair and Co-Founder Labour Friends of Football
Labour PPC for New Forest East