herald

Thursday 26 April 2018

Celts defend staff wage position

Peter Lawwell
Peter Lawwell

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has defended the Parkhead board after their rejection of a proposal to make the club a living wage employer was denounced as shameful by one shareholder at the club's AGM last night.

Jeanette Findlay of the Celtic Trust launched a measured but scathing attack, describing their decision not to back Proposal 11, which would cost Celtic £500,000 per year, as "the grubbiest" ever made by a Parkhead board which "shames you and shames us".

Celtic reported pre-tax profits of £9.74million for the year to June 30 on a 47.7pc rise in turnover to £75.8million. The UK's living wage rate is set to rise to £7.65 per hour next year. Findlay was given a standing ovation by the majority of shareholders who also backed the proposal on a show of hands, after two other shareholders also spoke passionately in support.

Chairman Ian Bankier confirmed the board recommended that shareholders vote against the resolution and a poll was called for which, with the proxy votes held by him, meaning it is almost certain to be rebuffed.

Speaking afterwards, Lawwell said: "It was very emotional and you have to respect the points of view but it is a very complicated issue. What I can say is this club is a first-class employer. We look after our people and their well-being, I don't think there would be any club or company in Britain that would look after them better.

"They are satisfied, we had a staff survey last year which showed that. The majority of staff who fall into that (living wage) category are on match-day, so it is second incomes for people, who top-up in stewarding and catering on a Saturday.

"It is an established payment structure which is independent to anybody, and we have to be in control of our business."

Lawwell, unanimously voted back on to the Celtic board along with majority shareholder Dermot Desmond, also revealed Celtic have hired a Dutch lawyer to investigate complaints from Hoops fans following the disorder which occurred in Amsterdam city centre before Celtic's Champions League clash with Ajax last week.

Two Celtic supporters are still being held in custody while a further six have to return to face charges.

Lawwell said: "We've received numerous complaints from supporters which are credible and have substance.

"We have engaged a Dutch lawyer to review the complaints, and those with merit will be taken up to the relevant authorities."

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