Manchester United will reportedly face intense scrutiny to increase the wages of all employees at the club, after months of 'grotesque' failings in their current pay structure.
Alexis Sanchez became the highest paid player at the club in January, following his move from Premier League rivals Arsenal. The Chilean superstar is reportedly earning around £600,000 per week, and as reported by the Daily Telegraph, United are set to come under huge pressure to address the wages of club workers and officials.
An open letter was handed to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward at 10am, urging him to address the plight of stadium staff campaigners claim that they are “struggling to make ends meet” and are forced to choose “between putting the heating on or a hot meal”.
An online digital version of the letter has been made available to raise awareness of the campaign, with a demonstration outside Old Trafford also scheduled for Thursday afternoon. City dignitaries including the Bishop of Salford and United's MP have signed their name to the letter in an effort to bring the severity of the case to United's immediate attention.
Led by civil society alliance Manchester Citizens, Thursday’s action is accompanied by a release headlined ‘Manchester Divided’, which suggests Sanchez’s signing has further exposed “a grotesque tale of halves”, in which five of the highest-paid players in the Premier League play for United or City.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, “low-paid staff at the Theatre of Dreams are facing a real nightmare to meet the real cost of living”.
The letter goes on to claim that Sanchez makes almost as much during one half of football than the annual salary of some cleaning, catering and security staff who work at Old Trafford.
One worker, who refused to be named in fear of repercussions, said; “We all share the same employer and it would be great if the club could think about all workers wages, from football stars to stadium cleaners and caterers.
“We understand footballers need to be rewarded, but paying a Living Wage to everyone working at the club would show Manchester United is not only a great club but a great employer as well.”
United responded to the allegations with a short statement, insisting the club meet the pay criteria outlined by the Premier League.
“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.
“Staff welfare is very important to the club and we consistently score in the top quartile of employers measured in independent surveys on staff satisfaction.”