This week I hosted an event in Parliament with Citizens UK on our ongoing campaign for sports clubs and venues to pay the real Living Wage. I got involved with the Living Wage Foundation campaign years ago as a trade union lawyer and have been working with Citizens Cymru in Cardiff aiming to persuade Cardiff City FC and the Principality Stadium to join Cardiff University, Cardiff City Council and a host of other organisations in Cardiff Central as Living Wage employers.
MPs joined campaigners and Living Wage accredited club representatives to describe their campaigns and how becoming a Living Wage employer has made such a positive difference both to the clubs and their staff.
Students from the Ark Academy in Brent who have been campaigning for Wembley Stadium and the FA to pay the Living Wage, joined representatives from Everton Football Club and campaigners who won their fight for the London Stadium, home of West Ham, to become a Living Wage employer.
The real Living Wage is calculated every year. Outside London the hourly rate is £9, higher than the national minimum wage of £7.83 for over 25 year olds.
At too many clubs and stadiums, the people doing the unglamorous jobs like the bar staff, stewards, technicians and cleaners who make sure you get your drinks, get to your seat safely, keep the lights on and clear up after you arenot paid enough to make ends meet.
We all know the cost of living rises every year. That makes it harder and harder for people paid less than the Living Wage to make ends meet. There are about 100,000 people employed at our clubs and sporting venues and 42% of them are paid less than the Living Wage.
It’s not radical to think that every job in Cardiff, in Wales and across the UK should pay enough for the person doing the job to afford the basics in life. Not to live lavishly, but to put food on the table, pay the rent and heat the home. We know from research that paying the Living Wage puts more money into our local economy. Everyone benefits.
We all see the consequences low pay and job insecurity every day. Theresa May loves to tell us that we have more people in work than ever before, but we also have more people on insecure, exploitative contracts in the gig economy, more people who are homeless, more people using food banks as well as more and more children going hungry. Most families in poverty in the UK have a family member working. In work poverty is a scandal. The Living Wage campaign is one way we can try to change that.