The Olympics reveals our problems
Tonight’s London Evening Standard is headlined Olympic Crisis – singular. Although it reports that with the Olympics two weeks away the “London Games are struck by double blow”.
Problem 1: The M4 Motorway remains closed although it was expected to have re-opened. The man in charge of repairing it is reported to be saying that six mile stretch of it is unsafe. The M4 was to provide the Olympic route for officials, athletes and spectators arriving through Heathrow. It is not clear that the route will reopen. Read more
Problem 2: G4S had a contract worth £284m to provide security for the Games. 3,500 troops are being deployed to fill this hole in security at a cost of £20m. The redeployed troops include many returning from Afghanistan and losing leave and 1,000 being redeployed from Germany.
Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army officer, said his old battalion had been ordered to provide security for Olympic tennis. He protested: “They’re literally just back from Afghanistan.
“Last week they were warned many of them were being made redundant from troops cuts, now they’re being told their leave is going to be cancelled. Very bitter pills to swallow.”
Labour MP David Winnick said Britain was becoming an “international embarrassment as a result of [Mrs May’s] incompetence”.
G4S said “it had been involved in an “unprecedented recruitment, training and deployment exercise on a tight timescale”.
Surprising that they did not work that out when the bid for the work.
The Olympics are showcasing modern Britain – warts and all.
Worse news on Friday 13th
“A senior Government source told The Independent that the contract with G4S did not include a penalty clause.
The revelation appears to contradict a statement by the Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons. She told MPs that while the contract was between G4S and the Games organisers Locog, she understood that there were “penalties within that contract”.
A source said that in fact it was a pro-rata agreement where G4S were paid for each extra security guard they supplied – and not penalised if they did not make the overall target. “The person who negotiated the contract should be shot,” the source said.” Read more
G4S think highly of themselves: “The world’s leading international security solutions group” Their site
Reports in The Guardian suggest that G4S is far from that
“A recruit who was interviewed in March and completed training last month, said: “There are people like me that are vetted and trained in security and would be happy to work, but can’t. Some of the classes were of around 200 in size with only two trainers accommodating the training for a class of this size.
“I am yet to hear from G4S regarding my screening, accreditation, uniform or even a rough start date. I know many people also who will be commencing work on 27 July who have had absolutely no scheduled on-site training. They are simply being chucked into their role on x-ray machines, public screening areas and even athlete screening areas.”
Another guard who has been trained as an x-ray operator, complained that he was unable to get through to G4S to find out when and where he was meant to be working, and was once left on hold on the phone for 38 minutes.
One student applicant said he had already spent £650 on travel and hotel bills to attend training and was now worried that, because he had not received any accreditation or rota from G4S, he might not be given the shifts that would enable him to cover those costs. He said he had expected to earn about £2,000 over the period of the Games.
G4S’s own Facebook page for new recruits is littered with similar complaints.”
Read more in The Guardian