Arsenal is urged by Islington Council to pay all workers the London living wage

Emirates Stadium

Emirates Stadium - Credit: Archant

Arsenal has been slammed for not paying all of its workers the living wage – despite the club’s footballing heroes taking home millions of pounds a year.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is paid more than �7 million a year

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is paid more than �7 million a year - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Islington currently tops London’s living wage league with schools, charities, City firms and small businesses among the 36 employers in the borough paying staff at least £8.80 an hour – the new rate announced by mayor of London Boris Johnson on Monday.

But Premier League leaders Arsenal are a glaring omission from those who have made the pledge, despite some of the club’s top earners taking home well over £100,000 a week.

The Gunners have responded by saying that those working at the Emirates Stadium in Holloway earned more than the living wage when everything was taken in to account regarding benefits.

Since becoming the first local authority in the country to be accredited as a Living Wage employer in March 2012, Islington Council has been working to persuade other employers to follow suit – and this week pilled pressure on Arsenal .

Cllr Andy Hull, who co-chaired the Islington Fairness Commission and is now the council’s executive member for finance and performance, said: “Arsenal hasn’t yet secured the Living Wage for all their contractors who put in the hours at the Emirates, despite the mega-money their players receive”.

“The club plays a huge part in Islington life and carries out invaluable work in the community.

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“Now we are urging them to help us tackle the scourge of working poverty by making sure that everyone who works on their behalf gets paid a living wage.”

Organisations who recently became living wage employers include Richard Cloudesley and Prior Weston schools.

Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Islington Council’s work is absolutely central in establishing the Living Wage in the borough, showing that leading by example gets the best results.

“We are delighted to count schools, businesses and charities across Islington in our growing list of over 400 accredited Living Wage employers.

“As for Arsenal, if they can afford to pay their players £100,000 a week, surely they can pay their contractors £8.80 an hour?”

The club refused to comment on whether it would be becoming a living wage employer, but that their employees remuneration packages exceed the living wage – this was also the case for the majority of those working on a casual basis.

Boris Johnson wrote to several of London’s football clubs in 2008, urging them to pay the then living wage of £7.45, after it emerged cleaners and programme sellers were earning just over the minimum wage.