Grey suits over Parkhead

The Celtic AGM rather reminds me of the Labour party conferences in the 1970s.

Despite the blood and thunder from grass roots activists in the constituency Labour parties, it was the block votes of the trade unions that decided the day.

However, there could be some drama on the conference floor and the top table could be embarrassed.

I saw something similar on Friday at Celtic Park and here is my write up for Newsnet Scotland.

As Brian Wilson looked out into the middle distance I thought his journey from the glory days of the West Highland Free Press to being part of a Celtic board opposing the club becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.

Jeanette Findlay of the Celtic Trust stole the show at the AGM and the men in the grey club suits were like motionless mannequins as she laid out the incontestable moral case for the club founded to help the Victorian poor to do the decent thing in 2014.

Celtic’s PR guy spoke to me at the back of the hall and, just doing his job, stated that this move on the full time permanent employees showed that the board were “willing to listen”.

I countered that the move by the board to pay their permanent staff £7.85 per hour was a sign that they had yielded to pressure.

The stance of the Celtic board now means that when they eventually become an accredited Living Wage employer they will get zero credit for this.

Of course ‘zero’ is the number of hours that some people are currently contracted to work at Parkhead.

In the post AGM press conference, chief executive Peter Lawwell confirmed that the club had full time, part time and zero hour contract staff.

The conciliatory move to consult with full time permanent staff about being paid the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour is welcome, but it seems forced and mean spirited.

In the press conference, Lawwell made much of Celtic’s “unique story”, making reference to the charitable origins of the club.

In zero hour contract land, this looks like so much marketing pish.

The Walfrid story has become a part of a global merchandising brand.

If football without fans is nothing then the spirt of charity is definitely alive within the Celtic support.

There appears to be a constant stream of charitable projects emerging from it.

They are doing this for the correct reasons.

If charity begins at home then I hope that this time next year Celtic will have made the final step and become an accredited Living Wage employer.

Of course for that to happen, Dermot Desmond with his block vote veto would have to acknowledge that the little people at Celtic have real lives.

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