Councillor Andrew Pope announced today in the Southampton City Council Chamber that Southampton FC has written to him, as Labour’s New Forest East PPC and Chair of Labour Friends of Football’s living wage campaign. In their e-mail, Saints’ Head of HR Michelle McCrindle states:
“We are currently in the process of reviewing our pay structure in terms of the living wage and it is being discussed at Board level. We will be taking this review very seriously and hope to have a conclusion before our new financial year on 1st July 2015.
“We hope this clarifies our actions, to date, in terms of the Living Wage.”
Andrew Pope responded:
“This is excellent news. I started this national campaign a year ago, and sadly Southampton FC ignored me and the Southern Daily Echo.
“I pursued them further, via letters, e-mails, phone calls and social media in a campaign helped nationally by the Mirror, and locally by the Daily Echo. I pointed out that it was outrageous to pay players tens of thousands a week, but to pay the minimum wage to ticket office assistants, and below the living wage for other jobs like waiters and porters.
“Thankfully my persistence and behind-the-scenes diplomacy paid off! Saints have listened.
“I have offered to meet with the Board, to provide guidance on what the living wage means (a minimum of £7.85 per hour to all staff), and to advise them on Labour’s tax incentive for companies signing up to pay the living wage, if we win power in May.
“I am very proud that Southampton City Council, where I am a Redbridge councillor, is now paying the living wage. It is leading by example on a manifesto pledge to encourage other local employers to sign up.
“Football clubs, like councils, should show a good example to other employers, so I hope Southampton FC will introduce the living wage following its review. Chelsea and West Ham are other Premier League clubs that have signed up, following Labour Friends of Football’s campaigning. So far, all the others have not, but I have been in discussions with other Premier League clubs who are close to bringing it in.
“I’d like to thank the Mirror, the Echo, my fellow Hampshire parliamentary candidates who joined the campaign and my colleagues at Labour Friends of Football. We believe that football can be better.”