Boris Johnson praises Chelsea FC for becoming first Premier League club to pay London Living Wage

Boris Johnson today praised Chelsea FC for its landmark decision to become the first Premier League club to pay employees the London Living Wage.

Last week The Blues gained accreditation as a Living Wage employer, meaning that all directly employed staff will be paid a minimum of £7.85 or of £9.15 per hour from January 2015, depending on whether they live in or outside London.

The Mayor of London said Chelsea’s decision should serve as an example to other Premier League clubs.

“I think we should pay tribute to the substantial achievements of Chelsea Football Club,” said Mr Johnson at Mayor’s Question Time.

“If Chelsea can do it, why can’t every other Premier League club?”

The London Living Wage increased by 35p last month to the current rate making raising it to £3 more than the national minimum wage of £6.50.

In a statement on the club’s website Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: “As a responsible employer we are proud of this significant achievement for the club.

“We believe the move to the Living Wage underlines our commitment to ensuring that all our employees receive a fair rate of pay for their hard work and dedication.”

Chelsea have also committed to ensuring that all externally contracted staff who work at Stamford Bridge and the club’s other facilities will be paid the rate by July 2017.

The move marks a significant transformation for the Blues who were ranked bottom of a Living Wage Premier League table in a Citizens UK report in 2013 –the community organising group behind the Living Wage campaign.

“It’s great that Chelsea are leading the way and now other clubs need to follow,” said Pete Brierley, lead organiser of South London Citizens.

“As well as the football the club is dependent upon the local community to invest money, but they have got to make sure they do their bit and part of that is by paying the Living Wage.

“The cleaners, the catering staff are as important as anyone else at the club.”

Mr Johnson made the comments in response to London Assembly member Stephen Knight who asked the Mayor whether he was doing enough to ensure that the London Living Wage would become the norm in the capital by 2020.

“I am delighted that in the last year the number of accredited Living Wage employers has doubled,” said Mr Johnson.

“These are real achievements by companies who are looking ahead and doing the right thing.”

Mr Johnson also said he was in talks with 46 major retailers about getting them signed up to the scheme.

“The retail sector and the catering sector are the most difficult to get over the line,” he said.

According to the Greater London Authority, more than 400 employers from all sectors now pay the London Living Wage.

Picture courtesy of Stephen Lock, with thanks

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