Scandal of council-funded Boxpark paying £6.50 per hour

Boxpark, the food and booze outlet set up next to East Croydon Station thanks to £3.5million of loans and grants from Croydon Council, is now recruiting for an events and digital marketing “intern” and offering less than two-thirds of the London Living Wage as the salary.

Tony Newman shows off just how much public money he's loaned to Boxpark to give it a commercial advantage over existing Croydon businesses

Tony Newman, right, shows off how much public money he’s loaned to Boozepark. He and Croydon Council have failed to ensure that Boozepark pay the London Living Wage

Croydon Council is registered as a London Living Wage employer, and since Tony Newman’s Labour group took charge of the Town Hall in 2014 they have claimed that they will endeavour to ensure that all council suppliers and contractors are signed up as Living Wage employers.

Yet no one at Croydon Council bothered to check whether Boozepark or any of the 40-or-so food and drink outlets which operate from the venue are registered with the Living Wage Foundation, despite the hefty amount of public money thrown at the venture to get it started.

Inside Croydon reported six weeks ago that Boxpark had so far failed to register as a Living Wage employer. According to the Living Wage Foundation, the process of registering is quick and simple. Other, similar food and drink operations, such as Borough Market near London Bridge, for example, are registered as Living Wage employers.

According to a response to our Freedom of Information request to Croydon Council in November, “Boxpark Croydon does pay the London Living Wage and has committed to seeking accreditation through the London Living Wage Foundation”. This appears to have been untrue then, and remains untrue.

The London Living Wage Foundation confirmed in November that they had no such application, and even today, Croydon Council-subsidised Boxpark remains unlisted as a registered Living Wage employer.

The London Living Wage is set at £9.75 per hour. Pro-rata’d over a 36-hour working week across a full year, that should pay a salary of more than £18,000.

Yet Boxpark is seeking an “intern”, working late and unsocial hours at weekends, and is offering just £12,000 per year.

The job ad was posted on Friday, stating that Boxpark is “seeking a young, enthusiastic and dynamic individual for the events and digital marketing department. This role will include daytime, evening and weekend work”.

The recruiters have termed the position as an “internship” and an “opportunity” to “gain valuable work experience”, presumably to justify their very low rate of pay. But they fail to state the term of the internship (such training positions are recommended under employment law to last no more than four to six weeks), suggesting that in reality what they are recruiting for is a permanent position. Just a very poorly paid one.

Boozepark nonetheless have high expectations for such a low salary. The successful candidate, “Must have a firm understanding of the events and digital marketing landscape, excellent writing skills and the desire to learn;Knowledge of social platforms in the context of strategy, maximising engagement and planning; Keen interest in music and events, with the desire to take on all types of tasks within an events environment.”

How Boxpark's low-pay job ad appeared on Friday

How Boxpark’s low-pay job ad appeared on Friday

It is difficult to see how Boxpark paying someone less than £6.50 per hour (pro rata over a 52-week year of 36-hour weeks) can be reconciled with the bold words in Tony Newman’s Labour council manifesto in 2014: “Croydon needs a skilled and knowledgeable workforce, and a workforce that is paid fairly.

“We will work with Jobcentreplus, employers and our educational partners to ensure that our people have the right skills for the right job while ensuring they are paid justly for their work.

“We shall ensure that all new council contracts will pay the London living wage and we will work to make Croydon a living wage borough.”

Apart, it seems, from businesses that are receiving millions of pounds from the council in grants and loans.

Tony Newman, as a Croydon councillor and part-time leader of the council and sometime MC at Boozepark events, receives £53,223 per year in “allowances”. Jo Negrini, the council chief executive who claims the credit for bringing Boxpark to Croydon, receives a salary of £185,000 per year.

Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader, having seen the Boozepark job ad, said: “It’s scandalous that millions of our cash went to supporting an employer that can’t be bothered to pay its staff enough to live decently.”

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1 Response to Scandal of council-funded Boxpark paying £6.50 per hour

  1. ritchielamy says:

    Are they allowed to say that they want someone “young”?

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