The ‘red card’ needs to be shown to the glaring pay inequality at Britain’s top football clubs where millionaire players rub shoulders with match staff who may not get the national minimum wage (NMW).
Unite, the country’s largest union, said it was a scandal that, while top flight players take home an average of £30,000-a-week, some match staff, such as mascots, physio interns and boy ball supervisors, may not get the NMW of £6.19 an hour.
The union welcomed the HM Revenue and Customs’ ‘targeted’ crack down at 44 Premier League and Championship clubs, after receiving evidence of workplace exploitation at some clubs.
Unite executive director of policy and lifelong Millwall supporter, Steve Turner said: “We need to blow the whistle on match staff being exploited and kick these practices into touch - it will be a PR own goal, if the clubs don’t.
“Football clubs should remember where their origins are – in local working class communities that have sustained them in good times and bad; in the days before a mug of Bovril was replaced by a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
“With the likes of Wayne Rooney and John Terry pocketing astronomical salaries and Premier League revenue set to hit £2.5bn in 2012/13, it is totally wrong that that football clubs should even contemplate not treating interns, volunteers and work experience workers correctly for NMW purposes.
“We expect these companies which have the riches of Croesus - thanks to the devoted efforts of their local supporters - to pay, at least, the ‘living wage’, which is currently £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 outside the capital.
“Payment of the NMW is the law - they ought to uphold that. They like to win on the pitch - but off the park they should also have the commitment to ‘win’ for their workers.
“I will be checking with my own club, Millwall that it is conforming to proper workplace practices.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.