The Independent London Newspaper
27th February 2017

Will Arsenal be the next goal for Living Wage campaign?

    John Barker

    John Barker

    Published: 10 November, 2016

    WAS it a bit of Trumpism I came across yesterday (Wednesday) in Camden of all places?

    Just as Donald Trump is settling in as President-elect I rang an enthusiastic supporter of the London Living Wage, John Barker, a retired teacher and parishioner at Hampstead church.

    I had just read his bubbling piece in the church magazine headed “Living Wage Campaign Victory” and quipped: “Sounds a bit like Trumpism!”   

    “Oh, you mean because he supports the working-class,” rejoined Mr Barker.

    I detected a slight strain of laughter in his voice.

    But Mr Barker has a lot to be enthusiastic about as an active member of London Citizens which has been campaigning for some time for the Living Wage in the capital.

    Not just him but also the teachers at St Michael’s Primary School in Camden Town and La Sainte Union in Highgate who took up the cause of the Living Wage – and helped to win it for the cleaners at the British Library. 

    Along with Mr Barker they had written to the library’s chief executive, Ronald Keating, pointing out that when the great seat of learning was the focus of the celebrations of Magna Carta and the struggle for human rights, it was wrong that cleaners were paid so badly they would have no time “to enjoy reading, studying or even being with their families”.

    A letter from St Michael’s pointed out that “if our mutual goal is for a healthier, better educated society, we must act together to allow people to work their way out of poverty”.

    So Arsenal and Spurs had better watch out – they are the next targets for the campaigners. 

    “Everton and Chelsea pay the Living Wage – why don’t Arsenal and Tottenham?” asks the current edition of Hampstead church magazine.

    The Camden campaign just didn’t act arbitrarily. Committed campaigners like Mr Barker “snooped” around the library and talked to cleaners and waiters on £6.70p an hour – that’s about £3 below the London Living Wage.

    Next Tuesday, I gather, London Citizens holds its annual meeting – and what is high up on the agenda? Football clubs.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if campaigners start putting the squeeze on Arsenal and Spurs in January when they start spending millions on new players in contrast to the miserable wage paid to cleaners and security staff.

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