Hatters first English club to adopt the Living Wage
Luton Town Football Club announced their decision yesterday to adopt the Living Wage for all contracted members of staff, and have begun the process of gaining accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.
As defined by the government, the current standard minimum wage sits at £6.50 per hour for employees over the age of 21. But since 1st December 2014 the Hatters have been paying a minimum of £7.85 per hour – an amount recommended by The Living Wage Foundation who campaign for a higher minimum rate of pay.
The Club is both delighted and surprised at the media attention this announcement is getting and would like to thank all of those who have publicised and praised our efforts; received from Luton supporters, fans of other clubs, local community members, councillors, politicians, journalists and other walks of life.
Gavin Shuker, Labour MP for Luton South, said: “This shows the Hatters are ahead of the competition, both on and off the pitch. Everyone deserves a wage they can genuinely live on, so Luton Town should be commended for doing the right thing.
“In Westminster I’m pushing for an £8 minimum wage, and incentives for employers to pay the living wage. I hope the Club’s move will cause many more local employers to follow their example.”
The Living Wage affords people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. So for a club that prides itself on looking after its staff, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
The decision also makes great business sense.
“Besides the obvious benefits which an increase in wages will provide staff, our decision to pay the living wage will make the recruitment and retention of staff much easier,” said June Walsh, Retail Sales and Operations Manager at Kenilworth Road.
June, who joined the Club in September to spearhead its new merchandise sales expansion, added: “Recruiting and retaining staff in retail is notoriously challenging but this initiative will help us get the right people to fit our culture as we grow and it should make them more inclined to stay and feel at home here knowing they’re being well looked after.”
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, has set up fairnessinfootball.org.uk, a campaign for the Living Wage to be paid at London’s Premier League clubs. He said: “I’m very pleased to see Luton Town taking steps towards becoming a Living Wage employer. Luton have a budget that is a fraction of those of top Premier League clubs, but rightly recognise the importance of fair pay.
“Luton’s players earn much less in a week than Mesut Ozil or Cesc Fabregas earn in an hour, yet it is the clubs lower down the football pyramid that seem to be more committed to paying a Living Wage. When League 2 clubs with much smaller budgets are showing that it’s possible to pay staff a Living Wage, I hope the Premier League will look again before saying that this isn’t something its clubs are able to commit to.”
Hatters Chief Executive Gary Sweet added: “We’re pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest in our decision to introduce the Living Wage.
“Naturally, we’re proud to be the first professional club in England to initiate on this front and lead by example, but to us it just felt like the right thing to do and, given the fact that the increase has cost us less than 2% of our total player budget, it seems peculiar that we’re the first to action it.
“We’re hoping that in taking this step, we might help persuade other clubs, particularly those higher up the pyramid, and more local businesses to follow our lead.”
To find out more about the Living Wage, visit www.livingwage.org.uk.
Further information about David Lammy MP’s Fairness in Football Campaign can be found at www.fairnessinfootball.org.uk.