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2012 Olympics authority is no model employer!

PUBLISHED: 20:09 01 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 05 October 2010

Dear Ed, BILLIONS of pounds are being poured into the 2012 Olympics on the promise there will be a lasting benefit to East London. But whatever else one thinks about the Olympics, it is surely incumbent on the Development Authority to be a model employer

Dear Ed,

BILLIONS of pounds are being poured into the 2012 Olympics on the promise there will be a lasting benefit to East London, about which many are sceptical.

Whatever else one thinks about the Olympics, it is surely incumbent on the Development Authority to be a model employer.

But the authority does not seem to be living up to the standards we have a right to expect.

Just two per cent of the thousands employed on the site are from Tower Hamlets, where unemployment levels among youngsters are around one-in-five and rising. There are very few apprenticeships available in construction work.

Even that two per cent figure may be exaggerated as the figures do not distinguish between long-term residents and those living here only while they work on the site.

Gagging orders have been imposed on contractors—giving rise to fear that workers will not be confident to blow the whistle on health and safety issues, after there have already been scares over radioactive waste and asbestos.

There is serious concern from the trade unions that workers may be brought in on the cheap under the posted workers’ directive, undermining national agreements on pay and conditions.

There is the suspicion that some construction workers with a history of perfectly legitimate trade union activity are being blacklisted from the Olympics site.

Former Gurkha soldiers are being employed in security roles for which they have special expertise—but are being paid below the going rate and less than half what Group 4 are receiving from the authority.

We cannot have double standards. If the 2012 Games are going to be the beacon’ that it claims to be, then the Olympics authority has to ensure sub-contractors have employment contracts with their workforce that guarantee trade union rights, pay a fair wage and provide decent conditions.

Cllr Abjol Miah

Respect Group leader

Tower Hamlets Council

Town Hall, Blackwall


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