An Olympics construction firm looked to block jobseekers from working on the site of the Aquatics Centre — simply for their trade union activities. In a letter sent to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), Balfour Beatty said they checked job applicants against an illegal blacklist operated by the Consulting Association.
The news comes as a blow to ODA chief exec Dennis Hone, who repeatedly denied a conspiracy against Olympics jobseekers — despite operators of the blacklist admitting under oath that checks had been conducted by companies including Balfour Beatty, Sir Robert McAlpine and “possibly” Skanska. Their illegal scheme was brought to a grinding halt in 2009 after the offices of the Consulting Association were raided by regulators.
“The ODA did not receive any evidence or could find any evidence of blacklisting on the Olympic Park during the construction phase or otherwise.”
But it was a month after his grilling by the Budget and Performance Committee that Hone took the revolutionary step of, erm, writing to Balfour and asking them. Their response reveals that they checked 12 new jobseekers against a blacklist — but could not put a figure on the number screened before transfer from other Balfour projects.
One of the most senior executives implicated in the scandal, Sir Robert McAlpine executive Callum McAlpine, faces a committee of MPs next Tuesday.
Perhaps inspired by Aidan Burley, Lib Dem Greg Mulholland took to Twitter last night to promulgate his observations on the Olympic closing ceremony.
Observing Jessie J’s flesh-coloured leotard decorated with sparkly bits, the Leeds MP claimed that the Domino singer’s outfit reminded him of a particular grooming practice beloved of The Only Way Is Essex:
“Why is Jessie J dressed as a vajazzle?”
Another addition to ‘Things You Shouldn’t Tweet As An MP’.
Scrapbook wonders how Aidan Burley’s complaint that the London 2012 opening ceremony was “multi-cultural crap” will be received by the Pakistani Olympic delegation — whose only medal hope, the hockey team, stayed in Burley’s Cannock constituency while preparing for the games.
His remarks are particularly embarrassing given that the opening ceremony specifically highlighted immigration from Commonwealth countries such as Pakistan. Scrapbook can exclusively reveal that the team stayed at the Ramada hotel in Cannock — just two minutes away from Aidan Burley’s office.
“Following extensive efforts by Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Hockey Club to attract a top tier team to the world-class facilities, the Pakistan Hockey Federation selected the Hockey Club … as its training base to fine tune their preparations for the summer games.”
With companies falling over themselves to profit from the Olympics – but without breaching onerous legislation designed to protect official sponsors such as McDonald’s — we had to admire this bit of brinkmanship from Specsavers. Perhaps staff at Hampden Park could do with an eye test.
Political Scrapbook is officially a website during the Olympic games.
If you think this is weird, remember that Boris Johnson’s Olympics transport announcements — boomed over train station tannoys in a manner in which George Orwell would surely approve — are actually real.
A Tory councillor subjected a member of the public to a drunken tirade at an official Olympic torch event. Cllr Laurance Wedderburn offered the combination of hot weather, stress and “a few glasses of wine” as his excuse for letting rip at an innocent competition winner:
“It was a combination of being very tired and stressed about my job, and I had a few glasses of wine and obviously it went to my head in the sunshine. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.”
Victim Katherine Green, who won tickets to the Olympic torch ceremony at Waltham Forest town hall in recognition of her photography of athletes 1948 London games, claims that Wedderburn angrily swore at her after after she praised council support for an art exhibition:
“He started asking me ‘are you lobbying me?’ in a really aggressive tone … I do not know what else would provoke such abusive language. No matter what went on in his mind, this is completely and utterly unacceptable.”
Beleaguered private security firm G4S are seeking a PR Manager who has “personal credibility”, seemingly to lift them out of the negative coverage hole they’ve found themselves in the wake of the Olympic security fiasco.
The advert, caught by Simon Francis, promises a £35-40k salary, but the successful candidate will have their work cut out for them, after a bruising week for the company. It was announced last week that the army would have to step in to cover a shortfall in security personnel, and the the company’s boss agreed yesterday that the whole affair had been a “humiliating shambles”.
The revelation that they were struggling to get even the guards they had secured to turn up after abysmal communication left many of them in the dark saw share prices dive, a situation which wasn’t helped by an unedifying performance by CEO Nick Buckles at the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Shareholders in G4S must have enjoyed the appearance of company executives before the Home Affairs Committee, in which CEO Nick Buckles refused to give up the firm’s £57 million management fee for the Olympics security contract — despite admitting that it was a “humiliating shambles”.
With Buckles in the hotseat from around midday, shares rallied briefly before continuing to tumble. The company has now shed 18% of its value thanks to the scandal.
And with amateur-hour Jubilee Stewards firm CPUK in charge of Olympic fire safety, the news machine may not quite be done with LOCOG contractors.