Supporters bid for Glasgow giant to become first football club to pay the living wage
One of Scotland’s biggest football clubs has come under pressure from its own supporters to pay all its employees the living wage.
The board of Celtic FC has recommended voting against introducing the policy, which would see all staff paid at least £7.65 per hour, at its AGM next month.
They say the club, founded in 1888, was originally formed to alleviate poverty in the east end of Glasgow and must stay true to its roots.
A spokesman for the Celtic Trust said: “Today we have a different but no less devastating type of poverty, in work poverty. Wages are so low, so close to the national minimum wage that many workers are living week to week, hand to mouth with no real financial security.
In the 126-year existence of Celtic Football Club, it has remained true to its founding principles. This petition builds directly on those principles and sets out for Celtic a 21st century way of alleviating poverty
“In the 126-year existence of Celtic Football Club, it has remained true to its founding principles. This petition builds directly on those principles and sets out for Celtic a 21st century way of alleviating poverty today as it has done without ceasing since 1888.”
The campaign has also been backed by Rutherglen MSP James Kelly who wrote to Celtic chief executive Peter Lawell
He told Lawell, who received a financial package worth £999,496 from Celtic in 2013/14 according to the club's latest accounts, that approving the policy would be beneficial to the Glasgow giant’s performance and reputation off the pitch.
He said: “It has become common wisdom in football that sides that pay better wages get better results on the pitch. It should come as no surprise that the same is true for all workers.
“I understand that Celtic would be the first football club in the UK to pay the living wage, this would be a huge statement in Scotland but across the UK as well.
“The opportunity for a globally recognised brand like Celtic to lead the way on this issue is a great one.”
In response to the resolution the Celtic board said it already offers a competitive range of employee benefits including a pension scheme with generous employer contributions starting at 7% of salary.
It continued: "The board will continue to review the company's remuneration policy on an ongoing basis, but considers that in order to act in the best interests of the company at this time, particularly given the economic uncertainty of Scottish football, it must retain control of its remuneration policy, while respecting all legal obligations and continuing to act in accordance with the standards we have set as an employer and which have been acknowledged through our Investor in People status.
"Accordingly, the board recommends that you vote against this resolution."
Celtic’s AGM will take place on 21 November.