2012 and all that
Yesterday I joined a TUC delegation on a guided tour of the London Olympics site.
I was last on the site a year ago and the difference between now and then was breathtaking. Last year the site was basically a series of muddy hills – now, the steel framework of the Olympic stadium is in place; 3km of previously polluted waterways are being rehabilitated and work is well underway on the new Stratford International Station and other key transportation projects (you can see some recent photo’s of the site here).
Its a huge undertaking, and despite all the cynicism and worries about costs, one which I think has the potential to deliver real and lasting social and economic benefits to one of the poorest parts of the UK.
Unions are obviously focused on the potential ‘legacy’ of the project – and we also want too make sure the Games are delivered safely, on time, on-budget and by a unionised workforce.
Late last year the TUC and London 2012 agreed a set of ‘Principles of Co-Operation’ setting out how unions and the Olympic Family will work together. Central to these Principles are commitments around ethical procurement, diversity and inclusion and the right of everyone working on the Games to join a union and to be given information about unions during their induction process. The trick now is turning these Principles into reality and making sure that unions are at the heart of 2012.
In the midst of the current recession London 2012, the raft of other major public sector works which the Government has announced will be brought forward, and other upcoming projects including Crossrail should be a major focus for union organising efforts over the coming years. Projects on this scale can deliver good quality, sustainable jobs – and so its vital that we make them as ‘union-friendly’ as possible. Its also vital that these projects DO have a long term impact – hence the TUC’s call today for the Government not to scale back the London 2012 media centre, which would threaten the legacy value of a key Olympic development.