The TUC should use the London Olympics to organize and demonstrate the effectiveness of Trade Union Organization.

A copy of the trade union resolution below was passed to me last week, and as someone who used to work in the Construction Industry I fully support its aims and hope it will lead to the TUC mounting a campaign to organize the workers who will be employed on the 2012 London Olympics. As I understand it the London Olympics will mainly be financed out of tax payers and lottery money. Thus it is imperative that all workers are trade union members if they are employed on the various Olympic sites, which will be scattered around London and the south. Not just the construction workers who will build the stadia, accommodation blocks and periphery areas, as important as that is, but also those who are employed during the Games by the companies who gain the contracts to provide the essential services, the catering, security and maintenance for the London Olympics. The UNITE London Construction Branch resolution says the 2012 Olympics provides a national opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of Trade Union Organization by ensuring that the Olympic site is a model for the construction industry as a whole.

Indeed, but the London Olympics offers the TUC a once in a lifetime opportunity to recruit and organize some of the UK’s most low paid workers and it must not be passed up. Many of these workers have been traditionally hard for trade unions to recruit due to the hostility of their employers, these games give trade union recruiters an opportunity to get in amongst those who work in the hospitality industry, cleaners, restaurant staff, drivers, the security industry and thousands of other workers who normally work in a twilight world out of the public spotlight.

Anyone who works in the construction industry knows only to well that the tendency today for the main contractors to sub contract work to a mirage of smaller sub contractors has led to the reemergence of the lump within the industry, something which has been a disaster for UK building workers. Like many of those who work for these small building contractors, workers within the hospitality and security industries have hardly been touched by Trade Union recruiters. Here is an opportunity to take the fight to these bad employers and their anti trade union employment practices. Finally it cannot be overlooked that any attempt to recruit these workers would be helped were Ken Livingstone to remain in office as London’s Mayor. For Boris Johnson would undoubtedly be an anti trade union Mayor, whose presence in office would be a major set back for organized Labour in London. This fact was highlighted only yesterday when he announced if elected one of his first appointments would be Robert Diamond who is currently a senior executive at Barclays Bank.


Copy of Unite London construction workers resolution.
Thursday 10 April 2008
This resolution has been passed to go to Amicus UNITE Conference. It’s an important issue and we hope for the widest sympathy and active support for its sentiments.
London Construction Branch believes that the London Olympics 2012 provides a national opportunity to demonstrate its effectiveness by ensuring that union organization throughout the site is a model for the construction industry as a whole.

Conference calls for:
1) A union organising campaign at the site with a dedicated team of full-time organisers and a long term plan. The plan should maximise lay involvement including construction stewards and activists, construction branches and the Regional Council. We want a campaign that is as high profile as the TGWU section’s cleaners’ organising drive.

2) The aim is 100% membership with a full complement of accredited stewards and union facilities, direct employment of all workers, British and non-British, under the terms of the appropriate national agreements

3) A campaign to ensure that the ODA/LOCOG implements Ken Livingstone’s pledge of ‘all contractors working on Olympics 2012 must use directly employed labour.’ This should be a requirement statement in all signed contracts. We also demand that all contractors be specifically prohibited from using blacklists to prevent union activists working on the site.

This motion is from UNITE London Construction Branch, and we urge support from other construction branches.


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Filed under EU/UK/Politics/Trade Unions, London-Olympics, lump-labour, Organized Rage, trade-unions

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