Why Celtic Should Become A Living Wage Employer.
With the AGM approaching we asked Jeanette Findlay of the Celtic Trust to put the case for Celtic becoming a ‘Living Wage’ employer. We are delighted that Jeanette, who works tirelessly on behalf of the trust and Celtic fans in general submitted the following piece.
Celtic FC , the first football club in the UK to be a Living Wage Employer ……sounds good doesn’t it? Sadly, unless they have a change of heart between now and Friday it isn’t going to happen. It sounded a great idea when we first came up with the proposal to take to Celtic – doing something right and good and doing something which will generate good publicity and doing something which makes good business sense, reduces turnover, improves staff moral, increases productivity and results in happier ‘customers’! What’s not to like in that?
This month the Living Wage was uprated (as it is every November) to the princely sum of £7.60 per hour which is all of £1.29 above the National Minimum Wage. It is a sum calculated so that individuals and families can have an ‘acceptable standard of living’ ie not just be condemned to a life of piecing together two or more low paid jobs to keep body and soul together. If we refuse to pay wages at that level to our own workers ie those employed by the company which we shareholders own, then in what way are we truly ‘more than just a club’? Is our social ethos and morality now just a marketing gimmick?
The Living Wage is supported by hundreds of employers – some of them leading companies in their sector, some of them extremely large public sector employers – and it is supported by government, local and national and north and south of the border. It is not some whacky, revolutionary idea from those mad-cap scamps the Celtic Trust who everybody knows are just doing this to annoy the rich people on the Board – we actually thought it was a serious proposition which they would grab! How foolish where we………..well, maybe not. The Celtic PLC Board has a long history (as long as we have existed) of defeating our resolutions at AGMs and then adopting them sometimes very shortly thereafter. If that is what they are doing this time then I think we can just about live with that.
This is not an academic publication so I am not going to bore you with the statistics on the continuing rise in-work poverty, the evidence on the productivity impact of paying better wages….an argument some people have no trouble with at the higher end of the wage scale but seem to have trouble with at the bottom end. According to them the people at the top of the salary scales need more money to work harder and those at the bottom need less to produce the same effect! I will simply leave you with the words of that well known extremist John Swinney, the Finance Secretary of the Scottish Government:
“This Government fully supports the Living Wage Week campaign and the principles of a living wage, which can make a real difference to people’s lives. We are firmly of the view that employers should reward their staff fairly, which is why all public sector staff under our direct control receive at least the Scottish Living Wage rate and will do for the duration of this parliament. It is good news that more than 400 companies and organisations across the UK are now officially accredited Living Wage Employers and by supporting the accreditation project, we are encouraging all public, private and third sector organisations in Scotland to do likewise.”
This is an idea whose time has truly come and we as a club which has a proud history of firsts (we all know what they are) should add this first to our continuing history and record. Celtic Football Club, the UK’s first football club to be a Living Wage Employer.