ALL Hearts staff will be paid the living wage, Hearts owner Ann Budge announced in a move that will increase pressure on Celtic to cut the same deal for Parkhead employees.
Just months after coming out of administration, club directors approved the motion at a board meeting last month, Budge wrote in a wide-ranging statement on Hearts’ official website. The announcement means that all Hearts employees will be paid at least £7.65 per hour - the amount considered the living wage for anyone living outside of London in the UK. Celtic have been widely criticised by anti-poverty campaigners for refusing to introduce the policy for its employees.
She said: “We believe we will be the first football club in Scotland to sign up for this. We further believe it is entirely in keeping with the values we hold dear as a club.
“The board and senior executives at the club continue to work hard to support and develop ever-stronger relationships with all organisations and bodies closely linked with the club.”
She also warned fans that flares used inside Tynecastle would result in life bans from the club after she described a string of such incidents at several matches as “stupid, dangerous and inappropriate”.
Hearts fans have been setting off flares at several away games, according to Budge, including at Easter Road during the recent Edinburgh derby. Flares were also set alight at a Scotland women’s international against Holland.
She wrote: “The people responsible seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that not only is this illegal, it is extremely dangerous… not just for them, but for everyone around them. The smoke itself can be harmful to anyone breathing it in… especially, for example, asthma sufferers; those flares eject material that can seriously burn anyone, or anything, it touches; and obviously, they can cause fires.”
She added: “Please support the club in trying to stamp out such stupid, dangerous and inappropriate behaviour. Please also be assured that the club has an absolute zero tolerance policy and will issue a life-time ban to any and all individuals or groups of individuals who endanger fellow-supporters and clubs’ facilities in this way.”