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Jeremy Corbyn joins fans for Premier League Living Wage protest

Published 08/11/2015

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with football fans before the Arsenal game at the Emirates Stadium (Nigel French/PA Wire)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with football fans before the Arsenal game at the Emirates Stadium (Nigel French/PA Wire)

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn lent his support to the campaign for Premier League clubs to pay all workers the London Living Wage and said it would set an example for all employers.

Campaign groups have been targeting top clubs for years in a bid to persuade them to pay the voluntary rate, which increased this week by 40p an hour to £8.25 and by 25p to £9.40 in London.

Mr Corbyn joined a small protest for the cause before Arsenal's game with local rivals Spurs at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

He said: "It is about social justice, it is about young people being properly treated, and it is about the example that big clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham, Crystal Palace and so on can set to everyone else in London."

Mr Corbyn said the area had a strong history of fair working conditions, adding: "This borough, our council was the first Living Wage council."

Labour's London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan MP said the rest of the world looked to the EPL to see the best football.

He said: "What an example we can set by making sure everyone gets a Living Wage, not just those who work inside Emirates day in day out, but also those who turn up on match day - those who sell the burgers, those who sell the programmes."

Mr Khan added: "Imagine the message we could send if Arsenal, and other Premier League clubs in London, pay the London Living Wage."

Donning an Arsenal scarf, Mr Corbyn joked: "We think, by the way, the players already get the Living Wage. "

He said the party was engaged in a discussion with the club and believed it was listening to the campaign.

"We're almost there with Arsenal," he said.

One football fan jeered "Corbyn's a gooner" as crowds streamed past his press conference.

The Opposition Leader smiled and waved to the man.

Chelsea is the only Premier League club accredited to the Living Wage Foundation, although Norwich has said it intends to accredit.

Hearts and Luton Town are also accredited.

Arsenal said in a statement: "We pay all our people good rates which are above the London Living Wage. This includes permanent and fixed-term employees and workers. As an example, match day stewards are paid £9.50 an hour.

"This means that rates for all our employees already exceed the Government's 2020 National Living Wage target. It also goes beyond the Premier League's recent resolution, which we fully supported.

"In terms of third-party contractors, pay conditions form part of our renewal discussions as those contracts come up for renewal. Our recent maintenance contract with CBRE, for example, contains an undertaking by CBRE that their employees are paid at least the London Living Wage.

"Pay conditions will form a part of the discussion when our cleaning contract comes up for renewal and are included in ongoing discussions with our caterers."

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