I recently received a kick-ass comment from a friend of mine named Stuart Murphy. He had some insight to share on the development of the London Olympics and how it’s affecting community here. Thought I’d give him a little shout-out and repost his comment here. Thanks Stu!
From what I can gather through working on an employment project across Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham (3 of the 5 host boroughs) over the last few years very few local people seem to be benefiting even from the short term construction boom. To my mind, those construction jobs aren’t being done by local people to the extent thats been promised. And thats not meant in the Nationalistic ‘they’re all Polish immigrants’ sense.
Anecdotally it seems that contractors have bussed people in from wherever, to the extent of even giving them fake local addresses in order to skew the stats and not get too much heat from the Olympic Delivery Authority for not employing locals. Not that there would be too much heat, as the targets for employing locals appear only to be aspirational. Its unclear that Section 106 Agreements (see link for definition: http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=71631) are in place or being enforced, so there’s basically no accountability, and therefore no real incentive to hire local.
For instance only in the last week it has emerged that there are only 150 apprentices working on the site, and only 1 from Hackney. Its a 500 acre site, and covered in construction workers.
Here’s a link or two:
- Article about low numbers of apprentices: http://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2010/03/10/only-one-hackney-apprentice-on-olympics-site/
- Link to a report by the snappily titled All Party Urban Development Group about regeneration projects creating local jobs: http://www.centreforcities.org/assets/files/APUDG-BuildingLocalJobsFINAL.pdf
- Also, awareness raising network on issues relating to the London Olympics. Its billed as a network of individuals (which it may be) but there’s fairly strong themes, politically, running through the articles: http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/
London Olympic Park construction equipment, by renaissancechambara (via Flickr).
For those interested, following a Freedom of Information Request made to the Olympic Delivery Authority, it was revealed in an article in the (London) Evening Standard that only 1 in 8 jobs on the Olympic Site were being done by Britons. Now the five host boroughs are incredibly diverse, and I’ve not crunched the numbers to see whether this is just indicative of that diversity, or further evidence that local people are not yet seeing the benefit of the games being built in their backyard.
A link to the article is here: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23826274-2012-chiefs-admit-only-one-in-eight-jobs-go-to-britons.do