Foreign workers on the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games are being classified as locals by the body charged with overseeing the project.This surely isn’t going to come as a surprise to anyone, is it…?
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) boasts that 23 per cent of workers on the huge building site in Stratford, east London, are from the five Olympic boroughs – Waltham Forest, Hackney, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets and Newham.And no-one in our MSM decided to look into just how they were defining ‘local’, and how they’d be assuring it, back when the announcement was made?
Yet it has emerged that workers can qualify as local even if they are not in fact British nationals. So long as the address they give is in one of the five boroughs, workers qualify for the ODA's "local" category.
No distinction is made between long-term residents and transitory labourers who have only been in the UK for a short period. Though the ODA checks on addresses, no checks are conducted on the length of time workers have been resident at that address.. Thus making the claim utterly worthless. Guess recognition of that got lost in all the ‘We won the Games! Hurrah!’ hoopla.
It seems they were playing fast and loose with other definitions, too:
It has also emerged that no checks are made on workers' claims to have been previously unemployed, or to find out how long alleged unemployment has lasted. Employees are asked on a form: "Before coming to work on the Olympic Park were you: employed, unemployed, or prefer not to say? "So, those targets they set themselves, and which looked so promising (as long as you didn’t, you know, actually look…)?
A fraud, a con worthy of ‘Hustle’:
The body set ambitious targets on the employment of both local people and previously unemployed workers when it started construction on the site. It wanted between 10 and 15 per cent of workers to have a permanent address in one of the five Olympic boroughs, and 7 per cent to be out of work at the time they applied for a job.And to make sure it met those targets, it arranged its own definition. Nice work!
A spokesman for the ODA insists the body has never claimed that its definition of local people had stipulated British nationality.They just let everyone read into it what they wanted to hear, naturally. Who was going to question it?
Tensions over the prominence of migrant labour on one of Britain's biggest infrastructure projects are being closely watched by Sir Robin Wales, the Labour mayor of Newham. A spokesman for the borough said: "Newham Council has always been clear that Olympic developments should provide work for local residents. We are working closely with the ODA and their contractors to ensure that jobs are secured for as many local residents as possible and that local residents are equipped with skills to benefit from jobs created. Employment and the creation of wider employment skills for residents are two of the key benefits of the Games."That’s going to be an interesting meeting…
But at a meeting later this month council leaders will ask for clarification on the make-up of local residents being employed on the project. The number of workers on site is set to peak at about 10,000 later this year