Casual workers at Emirates, Wembley and other football stadiums told they won’t be paid during coronavirus lockdown

A general view outside the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal

A general view outside the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal - Credit: PA

Thousands of casual workers at some of the country’s biggest football stadiums have been told they are not being paid during the coronavirus pandemic.

A general view of Wembley Stadium

A general view of Wembley Stadium - Credit: PA

Delaware North provides catering and hospitality services at the Emirates Stadium, the London Stadium, Wembley, Craven Cottage and other venues across the country, including Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

But when its casual workers, many of whom are on zero-hour contracts, have been told by email they will not be put on the government’s furlough scheme.

One worker told this paper: “It’s a massive slap in the face. They’ve basically said: ‘You’re not permanent staff. See you when it’s all over and done with’.

“People have worked here for more than 10 years. There are some people working at the Emirates from the Highbury days. They’re not going to be able to operate with just core members of staff, that’s for sure.”

The flexibility of the work means some people work 10 to 15 hours a week, and others work full time.

“We don’t just do match days we do prep and most people move around because there are such a vast amount of events,” the worker continued. “We are all on PAYE and the government says we are eligible.

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“We haven’t been told no en masse, it’s just been when someone has tried to get hold of people, they have got that email.

“Permanent staff have been put on furlough so there’s less people to get hold of. There’s no team to speak to.”

The government’s Job Retention Scheme website states: “Employees can be on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts. Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed.”

Delaware North’s email to staff states: “The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not yet operational but appears to apply to permanent employees. As you know, you are not in that category, being a casual worker with the ability to accept and turn down any and all shifts and the nature of our work is that, many casuals work for themselves to fit around the seasons.

“As you want certainty, our position, at this moment is that we will not be utilising the scheme for casual workers.”

US media reports Delaware North has put nearly two-thirds of its 3,100 global workforce on temporary leave after having more than 200 of its locations impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Arsenal said the workers were employees of Delaware North and said casual workers employed by Arsenal had their pay guaranteed until the end of April, when the situation will be reviewed. The club is in regular contact with Delaware North.

The Gazette has been unable to contact Delaware North.