Morning everyone, Alex here with a bit of break from the usual transfer gossip. We’ve been contacted by the people behind Fair Play Fair Pay – a campaign which is focussed on persuading Arsenal to pay the Living Wage. “Why is this of interest to me?” you may ask. Well all that stuff we like to say about how we are a classy club, boils down to how the club treats its off-field employees as well as the superstars on the pitch.
Arsenal, one of the richest football clubs in the world, does not pay the London Living Wage to the workers who help to make our match days such a success. It isn’t fair that cleaners, stewards, caterers and others who look after us while we’re watching the Arsenal play are paid less than the Living Wage, now set as £9.15 an hour here in London. That’s not much to live on in London – it would take a whole day’s earnings to buy one Arsenal shirt.
Here is the message we received from the campaign:
In line with other premier clubs Arsenal has now agreed to pay the Living Wage to permanent employers. However the majority of TEAM ARSENAL, the workers who contribute so much to the success of a day out at the Arsenal, work for contractors and thus are not covered by this commitment. Other employers such as Islington Council and the Whittington Hospital have demonstrated that contracts can be written to include a requirement for payment of the Living Wage. Other football clubs, including Chelsea, are taking similar steps.
Over the last year the Fair Play Fair Pay campaign has worked with a range of other groups including Arsenal Independent Supporters Association, local trade unions and Islington Citizens. Actions have included leafleting and taking photos of fans holding up posters at Arsenal matches, speaking to fans in all the local pubs prior to matches, contacting the press and setting up a facebook page and twitter account @fairplayfairpay. The response from fans has been terrific – witnessed by the willingness of so many of them to be photographed holding up our poster and to write to Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s Chief Executive.
Ivan Gazidis’ first response, sent to all who wrote to him is printed below:
Thank you for your recent email.
Our employee remuneration packages exceed the requirements in the campaign. We work hard to ensure all our employees have a broad range of benefits as a result of their employment with us and they are amongst the most competitive in football. I can assure you that this will continue to be our approach.
In terms of third parties we have contacted our suppliers and they are aware of the campaign.
Of course we wrote back to ask for details of the ‘broad range of benefits’ but received no explanation. Some months, and many letters later, Mr Gazidis agreed to meet with the London Living Wage organisers to explore the situation in more detail. At that meeting Arsenal’s Director of HR agreed to write a report for the board on the implications of paying the Living Wage. We await the publication of that report.
So Grovers what can you do? For a start you can sign the petition here
The campaign’s next step is to organise a day of action on November 7 – the date of the match against Spurs. This is a call to arms for all fans who want to preserve the status of Arsenal as a club with “class” to get involved on that day
Photographs, details of the campaign, copies of correspondence, relevant press cuttings and links to the petition are on the Facebook Page here. If you would like to send photographs to be used please contact the campaign via twitter or Facebook.