islington

Living wage campaigners voice their fraustrations outside the Emirates Pic: Tolga Akmen

Campaigners urge Arsenal to pay living wage with custom carols

Thursday, December 12, 2013
10.35 AM

Living wage campaigners sang carols outside The Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in an attempt to get Arsenal to join the scheme.

About 40 members of North London Citizens gathered outside the ground after the club cancelled a meeting regarding the living wage.

The aim was to pile further pressure on the Premier League leaders, who came under attack from Islington Council in November.

London Citizens allege Arsenal does not pay a living wage to some of its staff, including cleaning staff, despite top players taking home seven-figure salaries.

Complex

But the club continues to uphold that all staff take home more than the London living wage, when everything is taken into account, which stands at £8.80.

Representatives of the club went to meet those involved in the rally in an attempt to explain the club’s policy.

Jo Bownas, group leader, said: “We know Arsenal think the London Living Wage is complex and political, but we want Arsenal to understand that it is right and necessary and, equally importantly, would make good sense for them.

“The complexities can be easily worked through and it is nonsense to fear the simple principle as political. We are hopeful to meet Arsenal soon to make the case to them.”

This week research by the Rowntree Foundation found that more than half the people in poverty in Britain were earning a wage, but often low paid and part-time.

There are currently 500 living wage employers in London with a combined workforce of more than a quarter of a million people.

Islington currently tops London’s living wage league with schools, charities, city firms and small businesses among the 36 employers paying at least the living wage.

A spokesperson for Arsenal said: “A senior member of staff met representatives from the North London Citizens on Tuesday afternoon.

“The club would like to confirm that its employee remuneration packages exceed the London Living Wage requirements, with the majority of casual workers remunerated above the London Living Wage level.”