Manchester United are being urged by campaigners to boost wages of some of their staff because of a huge disparity with players’ salaries.
Calls to increase pay of match day workers came after the club’s record breaking signing of Alexis Sanchez revealed shocking statistics.
Citizens UK charity passed on an open letter to the club in support of stadium workers – some of whom it said are paid less that £7 per hour.
In the letter addressed to the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, the charity is calling for a “community-first business approach”.
It said: “We’re asking you to do the right thing on behalf of the lowest paid staff at Manchester United football club, who have told us of their struggles on low pay in a time when football players are receiving a king’s ransom in wages every week.”
New arrival Sanchez will pocket £505,000 per week.
It would take 35 years – six years more than the 29-year-old Chilean’s has been alive – for a minimum wage worker to match what the striker makes in seven days.
Sanchez’s transfer from Arsenal to United makes him the highest paid Premier League player in history and reveals what the campaigners Citizens UK call a “grotesque tale of two halves”.
The letter added: “The community spirit and passion of low-paid staff has helped to build the club’s prestigious reputation as the Theatre of Dreams.
“Everyone who makes the magic of match day happen deserves to live with dignity.”
While staff are helping to make match day happen earning minimum wage, it would take just 70 minutes of a game for Sanchez to earn a stadium worker’s annual salary – which is quoted as £14,626.
United has topped the table of the world’s richest football club for the second year in a row and claim their pay is fair.
A club spokesperson said: “Manchester United pays its staff competitive salaries for the jobs they undertake.
“We have many variations of contracts in place due to the size of the club, although all permanent employees, whether engaged on a full or part-time hours basis, are paid the Voluntary Living Wage, in line with the Premier League agreement.”
According to Greater Manchester Citizens community organiser Furqan Naeem, the club and others have “dozens or even hundreds” of third party contractors.
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Furqan said: “By only paying in-house staff a living wage, Manchester United ignore low-paid subcontracted workers who only receive the government’s minimum rate.”
The Voluntary Living Wage outside London is £8.75 an hour compared with the compulsory National Living Wage of £7.50 an hour for over 25-year-olds.