In the run up to Celtic’s 2014 Annual General Meeting, the Celtic Trust has called on the club’s board to start paying a living wage to their employees.
So what is the living wage? Well first of all the national minimum wage is currently £6.50 per hour [for those over 21], while the living wage – based on the cost of living in the UK – is presently set at £7.65 per hour.
Last year, the trust’s resolution for Celtic to become a living wage employer was defeated at the AGM, after the club’s majority shareholders voted against it despite 1164 votes out of 1298 in favour.
That decision saw the Trust, and their representative Jeanette Findlay, launch a scathing attack on the board after they had just announced pre-tax profits of £9.74million for the year to June 30.
Findlay labelled the board’s rejection of the resolution as ‘one of the grubbiest and divisive decisions made by a Celtic board’.
She later commented on a Celtic fan website, saying: “I don’t know how they [Celtic board] can look at themselves in the mirror never mind look at the statue of Brother Walfrid. I’ve said before, I don’t think the Living Wage is charity. It’s not charity to pay people properly. If it’s just and it’s right, it’s not charity.”
Despite her comments, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell quickly went on the defensive in the media explaining why the Living Wage resolution was rejected.
Lawwell commented: “It was very emotional and you have to respect the points of view but it is a very complicated issue. What I can say is this club is a first-class employer. We look after our people and their well-being, I don’t think there would be any club or company in Britain that would look after them better. They are satisfied, we had a staff survey last year which showed that.
“The majority of staff who fall into that (living wage) category are on match-day, so it is second incomes for people, who top-up in stewarding and catering on a Saturday. It is an established payment structure which is independent to anybody, government or companies, and we have to be in control of our business.”
This year’s resolution states: “This AGM instructs the PLC board to take all necessary steps to make Celtic Football Club a Living Wage employer. Celtic FC would become the first football club in the UK to do so and will set an example to both sporting employers and the wider business community in the country.”
Reportedly around 178 match day staff would benefit from any change, so is it really worth adopting the living wage given that according to Celtic those that it would benefit are working at Celtic as a second job and are part-time?
As reported last year, Celtic chairman Iain Bankier claimed it would potentially work out at an extra £500,000 per year.
Can a club, even Celtic, in a league that is bereft of significant finances afford to pay that amount of money?
Some people are claiming that given Celtic were founded to ‘raise funds to provide food for the poor’ that they are ‘more than a football club’ and should take the moral high ground to become the first football club to become a living wage employer.
So what are your thoughts on this? Should Celtic become a living wage employer? Should all football clubs become living wage employers? Do you think the Celtic board will pass the living wage resolution at the next AGM?
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