Calls for Celtic board to pay staff ‘living wage’

THE Celtic board has been urged to reconsider its stance on paying their employees an hourly rate which would enable them to “live rather than just exist.”

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell. Picture: John Devlin

Around 6,000 supporters have signed a petition calling for the club to raise the wage of all staff up to at least £7.65 an hour, which is seen as the “living wage” for people living in the UK outside London.

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The petition has been added to a signed resolution which will be put to the board of directors at the club’s Annual General Meeting.

It is believed that around 120 employees would benefit from the plans.

The board have recommended shareholders vote against the resolution. However, James Kelly, the Labour MSP for Rutherglen, has backed the notion, hoping Celtic can set an example for companies across the UK.

Mr Kelly 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.

“Celtic have a historic opportunity to lead the way on tackling low pay. By becoming the first club in the UK to pay the living wage they can blaze a trail for other football clubs and employers across both Scotland and the UK.

“It appears the board intend to recommend shareholders vote against the resolution. I believe that would be a mistake. Paying the living wage means low paid workers get a much needed pay rise whilst employers see improved performance. It’s win-win.”

Similar plans were voted on in last year’s AGM with the majority of shareholders agreeing with the prosposals. However, the plans were defeated as members with majority stakes voted against them.

Defending their stance, the Celtic board said: “The company offers a competitive range of employee benefits, including a bonus scheme for all permanent employees, with up to 20 per cent achievable by even the most junior of colleagues.

“We also offer a pension scheme with generous employer contributions starting at seven per cent of salary, a comprehensive company sick pay scheme, life assurance for all permanent staff, and a range of free or discounted medical and healthcare schemes.

“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.”