Campaigners tackle West Ham FC to get its low-pay workers the ‘Living Wage’

West Ham fans descend on the Olympic Stadium in Stratford for their first home game

West Ham fans descend on the Olympic Stadium in Stratford for their first home game - Credit: Archant

Campaigners in East London are tackling the mighty West Ham football club for not paying the Living Wage to sub-contracted workers.

The action by the London Citizens squad comes in the wake of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s attack over teams like The Hammers for not being Living Wage accredited.

The East London Citizens Organisation set up a team to take on the club at last night’s annual meeting held in Whitechapel.

Other Citizens groups have already started talks about wages with representatives from Arsenal and Wembley stadium, London Citizens’ Emmanuel Gotora revealed.

“West Ham has control over the contractors they choose to deal with,” Emmanuel told the East London Advertiser this-evening. “A club which has massively benefitted from public funds should have to make sure all staff are paid the Living Wage.”

They are also speaking to staff affected by the low wages in the lead up to a Citizens’ campaign meeting about wages on December 6.

But the club said yesterday it was “immensely proud” to have paid permanent staff the equivalent to the London Living Wage since July, 2015.

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They have “no jurisdiction over the staff employed in the operation of the club on a matchday”, the club insists.

Chelsea is the only Premier League club in London to be Living Wage accredited, since 2014. Elsewhere, only Everton and Derby have done the same.

The issue of football clubs and living wages is also being tackled on pitch at the London Assembly. Essential workers like cleaning staff who are sub-contracted and not paid the Living Wage must also be compensated fairly, members are demanding.

“If you didn’t have a clean stadium, you couldn’t have a football club,” Assembly member Jennette Arnold said. “You couldn’t bring on these ‘super duper’ footballers without these workers.”

Tower Hamlets council, as an example, agreed two years ago that they will only undertake contractors with outside bodies who pay the London Living Wage.