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Another Premier League club make Coronavirus commitment to staff – Mike Ashley has to follow

6 months ago
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It is time for Mike Ashley to step up and do the right thing.

Brighton and Hove Albion might not be winning any trophies but they show the way in how a decent club should act.

Late on Friday morning we all found out about the decision to suspend football in the Premier League and other leagues, plus the FA Cup, then within a few hours, Brighton bosses had reacted in a really decent way in terms of looking after the people who work for them, including over 600 casual staff who work  on matchdays, who they aren’t obliged to pay if they aren’t working.

A Brighton official statement (see below) released last Friday including this:

“We have taken the decision as a club to continue paying the vast majority of our matchday staff for the remainder of the season, whether or not we play the five remaining Premier League games.

“We feel that is really important, whether we play the games in a full stadium, behind closed doors or at all. We want those staff to know they’ve got their pay coming to them.

“That is a small thing we can do. The vast majority of people we employ are local people so it is important we support them, and through them our local economy, at a difficult time and hopefully give them some reassurance, regardless of what else happens, that they still have that income from us to come.”

This is the bare minimum Mike Ashley and Newcastle United need to do, as well as every other Premier League club (and other clubs where at all possible).

Compared to the overall turnover, this will be a very small amount of money to commit to BUT it could make a massive difference to these casual staff.

Other Premier League clubs have followed the same path and Crystal Palace have now clarified an earlier statement they made on paying staff.

In their Chairman’s statement (see below), he states that similar to Brighton, no matchday staff will be ‘disadvantaged financially’ if/when game are cancelled or played behind closed doors.

Steve Parish also making clear that if any Palace staff have health issue relating to the Coronavirus, they will not end up on statutory sick pay.

Committing to these things would be the decent and right thing to do for Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.

Crystal Palace official statement – Wednesday 18 March 2020:

Chairman Steve Parish has issued the following update.

‘Following my message two days ago, I wanted to provide further clarity on two areas relating to our staff.

Firstly, in order to ensure the impact of this health crisis is minimised, we will not be placing any of our colleagues on statutory sick pay for health issues relating to COVID-19 during this crisis.

We are also aware of the impact on matchday casual staff where games are cancelled or played behind closed doors. Whilst we are not anticipating this to be the case, we will ensure that matchday staff who would have been employed by the club for these fixtures are not disadvantaged financially.

Once again I wish everybody the very best as we all adapt to the situation.’

Steve Parish

Brighton and Hove Albion official statement – 13 March 2020:

Brighton & Hove Albion have committed to pay staff who are unable to work due to the coronavirus, including more than six hundred regular casual staff who work for the club on matchdays.

In a show of loyalty to the club’s workforce, chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber agreed the measure with the club’s board of directors during an emergency conference call this afternoon, set up following the Premier League meeting earlier today when it was decided to postpone fixtures until 4th April.

Barber explained, “We have more than six hundred matchday staff, who regularly work for us at the stadium on matchdays like tomorrow would have been.

“We have had to cancel their work at really short notice, and we know that their work and pay is really important.

“We have taken the decision as a club to continue paying the vast majority of our matchday staff for the remainder of the season, whether or not we play the five remaining Premier League games.

“We feel that is really important, whether we play the games in a full stadium, behind closed doors or at all. We want those staff to know they’ve got their pay coming to them.

“That is a small thing we can do. The vast majority of people we employ are local people so it is important we support them, and through them our local economy, at a difficult time and hopefully give them some reassurance, regardless of what else happens, that they still have that income from us to come.”

Albion are also telling full-time staff to work from home where possible from Monday, and to minimise risk in whatever ways possible.

Those coming into work are following strict protocols and measures in place for the past two weeks in order to minimise risk and protect players as much as possible.

Barber also confirmed all the club’s players and coaching staff across all teams are currently fit and well.

He added, “We have sent home staff who don’t need to be here in the office, both at the stadium and training ground.

“If people do report sick, show symptoms of the virus, come into contact with the virus or think they have the virus, then we have plans in place to self-isolate.

“There is a contingency plan in place. We have been fortunate that there have been no cases amongst our players or first-team staff. We do have five members of staff self-isolating which is a precautionary measure for a range of different reasons – either due to travel reasons or contact with potential cases – but none are showing symptoms of the virus at this stage.”

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