The charity group which operates the Stanley Halls community arts venue in South Norwood is recruiting a new staff member – but is offering a salary that starts well below the London Living Wage.
Stanley Halls this week advertised for a front of house and bar manager, offering possibly as little as £19,250 for the full-time post.
This could be embarrassing for the council, whose Labour administration was elected on a manifesto pledge to make Croydon a Living Wage borough, promising that it would pay all its own staff the London Living Wage, and that it’s contractors should do the same.
And vice-chair of the board of SPI is none other than the ubiquitous Paul Scott, a councillor for Woodside ward and key member of the “Gang of Four” leadership of the Town Hall Labour group.The London Living Wage is reckoned to be £10.20 per hour – more than the national rate because of the increased costs of living and working in the capital.
Whoever drafted the advertisement for the Stanley Halls bar manager makes it sound like an important, responsible and demanding job. “FOH and Bar manager will be a key person for the delivery of events at the halls, looking after the visitor experience with a strong sales focus and strategic vision, maximising income in both the FOH and Bar areas,” they say in their own ad.
Long, anti-social hours, working evenings and weekends, probably go with the bar manager territory. In comparison, other clubs and bar manager posts elsewhere in London typically are recruiting with salaries starting at £30,000.
The Stanley Halls bar manager might, if they’re lucky, get up to £22,000.
When the piss-poor wages on offer were questioned by a South Norwood resident, someone at Stanley Halls (believed to be David Somner, the general manager who is reckoned to be paid £30,000 per year), replied, “Despite being a self-funding charity, our aim has always been to pay as close to the London Living Wage as possible. That’s £19,890 for a full-time role. Our ad says we’ll pay from £19,250 up to £22,000. Hope that clarifies.”
That £19,890 LLW estimate might be a tad on the low side: at £10.20 per hour, working a 40-hour week, even the lowest-paid bar manager in South Norwood would expect to receive £21,216 per year.
That’s much less than the £23,746 which Scott trousers each year just in “allowances” for being a spare-time councillor and chair of Croydon’s planning committee. And he gets that cash on top of the salary he receives as a director of the architects firm, TP Bennett.
But the Stanley Halls spokesperson went further to justify the piss-poor pay on offer when they were asked if what they was doing was legal, given that the Halls are, technically, council property.
“Short answer is yes, as the employer isn’t the council. So far, less than 4,000 employers across all of London have signed up to be an accredited London Living Wage employer. One day, we hope to be one of them.” So that’s alright then.
The chair of SPI, Cameron McLeod, later contacted the person questioning the low pay on offer, accusing them of “sniping from the sidelines”.
If you want to apply for a low-paid job working long hours for Paul Scott and others, click here (the closing date is January 9). Or if you wish to bring the matter to the charity vice-chair/planning chair/councillor’s attention, then you can email him directly at Paul.Scott@croydon.gov.uk.
This is not the first time that Croydon Council’s laudable policy to try to root out low pay in the borough has failed to be implemented properly at a council-linked scheme.
Boxpark, the company behind the food, drink and rave venue next to East Croydon Station, was given a £3million loan and a £180,000 subsidy by the council in 2016, but no one at the Town Hall bothered to include a clause in their agreement to ensure that the business owners, nor any of the outlets operating at the venue, paid their staff the London Living Wage.
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