From the TUC

No chance of fair pay in the Premier League

03 Nov 2008, by in Society & Welfare

A spokesman for the Premier League has rejected the proposition – supported by the unlikely partnership of trade unions, civil society organisations and Boris Johnson – that cleaning and catering staff employed by London’s football clubs should be paid £7.75 an hour. The League stated that clubs make a “substantial contribution” to the economy, that they “respect all the relevant employment laws” and that “statutory pay levels are a matter for government”.

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, emphasised that “in general clubs receive many applications for the available jobs, suggesting that terms and conditions are relatively attractive compared to other employment opportunities.” Because people will work for poverty wages he believes that the richest football clubs in the world have no responsibility to pay them more.

The Fair Pay Network report that Richard Scudamore is paid a basic salary of £590,000. Last year he also recieved a bonus of £410,000 and £213,000 was paid into his pension, making his total remuneration £1.2m. His bonus alone could enable 112 cleaners to take home £2 extra an hour for a year, but by his estimation they are not worth it.

Not everyone believes that it’s bad business to recognise the contributions of the lowest paid. The Shadow Minister for Sport & The Olympics notes the business benefits that a happy and motivated workforce can bring, and Chief Premier League sponsor Barclays believes that ‘improving people’s standard of living makes business sense’.

My own view is less measured. At the risk of ranting it seems completely ridiculous to me that anyone can believe their corporate contribution is justifiably worth over 100 times that of someone else because the market says so. Maybe Mr Scudamore should take a cleaning job and see if he revises his opinions.