Over 20 senior faith, union and community leaders from Cardiff Citizens, part of national community organising charity Citizens UK, and the Cardiff City Supporters' Trust, sent a letter to Cardiff City FC chairman, Mehmet Dalman, today (May 11th), asking him to announce that Cardiff will become the first football club to pay all their staff the Living Wage (£7.65 an hour) before the new season begins.
The campaigners were accompanied by a giant 'Bluebird for a Living Wage' created by local youth football teams who then marched it through Grangetown before the last game of the season against Chelsea.
The letter was signed by senior representatives of diverse organisations such as the Church in Wales, Roman Catholic church, Muslim Council of Wales, Hindu Council of Wales, Unison trade union and Neighbourhood Watch. It called on the Club to meet with Cardiff Citizens to discuss the implementation of the Living Wage.
In addition to the letter, hundreds of fans signed a petition calling for the Living Wage before attending the Chelsea game (petition available here: http://citizens.nationbuilder.com/ccfc_petition) and a growing number of politicians, including local MP Stephen Doughty, Councillors Ali Ahmed, Gretta Marshall and Lynda Thorne, and Cardiff Central Parliamentary Candidate, Jo Stevens, have put their weight behind the campaign.
Cardiff City has an estimated annual wage bill of £18 million for its players, but the cleaners, stewards and hospitality staff who are vital to its success are paid as little as £6.31 an hour, the National Minimum Wage.
The Living Wage is a voluntary measure supported by over 700 employers across the UK who commit to pay all of their directly-employed and sub-contracted staff enough to live, rather than just enough to survive. The Living Wage is currently £7.65 an hour.
Accredited Living Wage employers in Wales include Cardiff Council, Wales & West Housing, Burns Pet Nutrition, Taff Housing Association and KPMG.
Cardiff Citizens and the Cardiff City Supporters' Trust wrote to Mr Dalman in January 2014 to raise the issue of the Living Wage. The Club replied saying that the Board would consider introducing the Living Wage. In anticipation of the Cardiff Citizens action this week, Cardiff City Football Club have offered a meeting within a month of the season ending.
Jo Stevens, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Cardiff Central, said:
"For all of us in the Cardiff City family, being the first professional football club in the UK to be a Living Wage employer would be up there with the very best of our achievements. We are after all, more than just a club."
"Paying a Living Wage makes a real difference to the lives of people in our city. It would be an excellent legacy from our 2013/14 season in the premiership. Go on Cardiff. Make that difference and make us proud."
El Bashir Idris, a young leader with Cardiff Citizens, said:
“The players, the Club itself, and the city's economy have all benefited from the Club's success to the tune of millions of pounds, yet essential matchday staff are paid rock-bottom rates. That can't be right - and we are calling on the Club to announce that they will introduce the Living Wage soon.”
Tim Hartley, chair of Cardiff City Supporters' Trust, said: "The minimum wage is just that, the legal minimum. The Cardiff City Supporters' Trust believes that the club not only can, but should, pay the Living Wage to all its staff."
Richard Weaver, a leader with Vale of Glamorgan Citizens and lifelong fan, said:
“We all love our local Club and were very proud when they got promoted to the Premier League. We would be even prouder of our Club if they showed their appreciation of the community and their staff by becoming the first ever Living Wage football club.”
A hospitality worker at the Club speaking under condition of anonymity, said:
“An extra £1.34 an hour might not make a difference to a Premiership footballer, but it will make a massive difference to me and the staff who are struggling to support our families and make ends meet.”
About Cardiff Citizens
Cardiff Citizens is an alliance of diverse civil society organisations that act together for power, social justice and the common good. Our vision is to create a fair and just city where the values and experience of civil society impacts on decisions made by the powerful.
Cardiff Citizens brings together people from unions, faith groups, schools, universities, charities and community organisations who want a better city. When we launch on October 22nd 2014 Cardiff Citizens will be the largest and most diverse alliance in the city. We are an independent organisation. We do not take government funding and we are a non-party-political organisation.
Cardiff Citizens believes that a strong and connected community enables the people of Cardiff to shape their own future, to grow and develop as leaders, to be full democratic citizens and to speak and act with others on their own behalf. We build grassroots power that respects the contribution and dignity of all people.
About Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust
The Trust is a democratic, not-for-profit group of Cardiff City supporters, committed to giving City fans a voice in the decision-making process of the Club, and to strengthening the links between Cardiff City and the community it serves.
The Trust is run entirely by volunteers and is led by a board of directors, elected by their fellow members. Every adult member has an equal share in the Trust (and a share in Cardiff City through the Trust’s shareholding in the Club), they all have a vote, and they all have a voice.
Although it’s a fans group, the Trust, as a legally constituted Society governed by law, is more than just another “supporters club.” It’s a campaigning organisation which seeks to represent the views of Cardiff City fans to the owners and executives at the Club.
About the Living Wage
Citizens UK estimates it would take a cleaner 13 years to earn what top footballers earn each week. The Premier League has the highest revenue of any football league in the world and the average salary for a Premier League CEO in 2012 was £215,879. This is 43% higher than the average salary for a director of a similar sized company outside the Premier League. Nearly 700 organisations are now accredited Living Wage Employers but there is currently not a single football club.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £7.65 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.
The Living Wage Foundation recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage employers across the UK. There are currently over 650 accredited employers.
According to a recent YouGov Poll, 16% of people in the Britain earn less than the Living Wage. This increases to over one in five (22%) when looking at those in the lower social grade group (C2DE).
Fewer than one in ten people (9%) feel they would be able to maintain a reasonable standard of living on the minimum wage of approximately £950 a month, according to the survey, while around half of people (51%) said they would need to earn at least £1,100 a month to maintain a reasonable standard of living – broadly the monthly salary of someone receiving the Living Wage.
When asked on which three things they would spend an additional £148.07 a month - the difference between the Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage – those in the lower social grades would be most likely to use this extra income to provide basics for themselves and their families. More than half said they would spend the difference on food (51%), while 47% would use the money to cover bills. More than four in ten people would use the money to bolster, or start, savings (43%).
The survey also found that 85% of people think that companies should voluntarily pay their employees the Living Wage if they are able to.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,558 adults of which 996 were from ABC1 and 562 were C2DE social grade groups Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd - 24thMarch 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).