Last night on Twitter, Graeme Spiers retweeted a story in The Scotsman that Rangers are to become a Living Wage employer, great news for the lowest paid at that club. Unfortunately as I read down, the author (Craig Fowler) thought it appropriate to use praise of this proposal to criticise Celtic. In the first instance why would Rangers paying the Living Wage require reference to Celtic and secondly what he reported was wholly inaccurate. My annoyance at these inaccuracies was further compounded when it was brought to my attention that Darren Cooney of the Record had written similar lies – his under the banner of Rangers giving Celtic a “beamer.”
Let’s get the facts straight (I know, it’ll never catch on). Rangers issued a statement yesterday to say that they would start paying staff the living wage rate. Apparently King arrived on Thursday, asked his CFO what the living wage was, was given a report and said “we should do that”. THAT is the full extent of the information. No detail on when it will start, no detail on how many employees will be covered, no detail on full-time or part-time staff, no detail on contractors…NO DETAIL (except that they won’t become an accredited living wage employer)! Despite this both the Scotsman and the Record trumpeted the arrival of the living wage at Ibrox, Cooney even going so far as to say to me on twitter within an hour of writing the story that Rangers were NOW a living wage employer. Yes NOW…RIGHT AWAY!
In order to make some weird point scoring over Celtic (and why not every other SPFL club except Hearts), both of these “journalists” ignored some basic fact checking that good practitioners of their profession would follow. Apart from the fact that the statement has come from a glib and shameless liar, how can a plc think up a strategy on a Thursday and implement it on a Friday? If King only found out about the living wage on Thursday how could CFO write a detailed business impact report THAT DAY? What impact is there on the financials of a business that requires regular loans just to pay the bills and what impact does any pay change make to the whole wage structure of the business? Some absolute basic questions you would surely ask before running the story.
If this cash strapped club are doing this then great for the staff but in rushing to regurgitate some PR guff, these two lickspittles forgot to check some basic facts. Fowler for example claimed that despite 3 years of demands from fans at the AGM Celtic had not implemented the living wage. Both said this was an embarrassment for Celtic. The awkward truth for these two (and any others who may repeat the PR line this weekend) is that Rangers are merely implementing the Celtic policy.
From the additional PR briefing both appear to have received over and above the statement, Rangers will not be an accredited Living Wage employer. It appears they have decided to pay the current level of the Living Wage to Rangers staff – Exactly the same policy Celtic adopted at last years AGM. Yes, as per EVERY statement he makes, it seems even on staff employment policy it seems King remains utterly obsessed with Celtic (well I suppose King had his fingers burnt on staff remuneration when director at a previous club).
The saddest thing about all of this – Two lickspittles used terms and conditions of the lowest paid to score petty PR points.