Manchester United have been accused of “penny-pinching” after the club’s latest move to drastically reduce the number of extra hours for ground staff.
According to The Daily Mail, United officials have made the decision to slash extra hours for members of staff who work on maintaining the Old Trafford pitch, training grounds and other facilities.
It has been indicated that such a move stands to reduce the salaries of some of the lowest-paid staff by almost 50%.
United have defended the action and indicated that it’s meant to ensure their employees remain fresh and get enough time off in addition to increasing flexibility.
The Mail explains that a member of staff insisted that morale is at an “all-time low” even as the club endures its worst start to a season since 1962/63.
It’s understood that new contracts have already been dished out with the threat of possible job termination in case one refuses to sign.
Mike Keegan explains that a majority of the ground staff earn around £20,000 and £30,000 per year, a figure that can be boosted by as much as £15,000 with additional bonuses.
Apparently, some of those affected have started looking for second jobs to offset what they may lose under the club’s new arrangements.
As per The Mail, the move has been implemented by Annie Hale, United’s human resources director. United insist that new bonuses have been introduced and the changes were brought about following a 7% pay rise.
An insider said, “It’s an absolute disgrace. We are talking about people who love Manchester United, the fabric of the club, who have been there for years. They work incredibly hard because, despite who is at the top, it is their club. Almost everyone relies on overtime because it is not a well-paid job.”
“Doing this — especially during a cost of living crisis — is not just heartless, it is reckless. They are penny-pinching from those who need it most, chopping salaries of some of the lowest-paid members of staff in half.”
“It is yet another example of how detached those in positions of power are from the rank and file. ‘The money they will save is peanuts in the grand scheme. When you look at what players earn, and how much they have spent on flops, it’s sickening.”
A representative speaking on behalf of United pointed out, “We recognise the significant role the green staff play in delivering one of the best playing surfaces in football. Our review is aimed at protecting the welfare of staff and providing greater flexibility.”
“We are seeking to modernise terms and ways of working with employees who work irregular hours around the demands of the football schedule. It is good practice to review historic employment terms to ensure we remain competitive and reward staff appropriately, particularly those who spend anti-social hours working hard behind the scenes.”