Treatment of Jubilee security workers "unaceptable" says charity

The employment charity Tomorrow's People which provided stewards for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on Sunday (3 June) has said it is "totally unacceptable" that individuals were allegedly made to sleep under London Bridge the night before the festivities.

The Jubilee Pageant
The Jubilee Pageant

The charity was working with security firm Close Protection UK to offer unemployed jobseekers stewarding contracts for the Jubilee Pageant. Up to 30 jobseekers and 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government's Work Programme.

Abi Levitt, director of development at Tomorrow’s People said today: "We are very concerned at Close Protection UK’s lack of care for our clients and lack of attention to their safety and wellbeing. We are urgently reviewing our involvement with Close Protection UK (CPUK).

"CPUK has been working with us in Plymouth and Bristol for the past six months," she continued. "They have been involved in pre-employment training specifically for the security industry and supporting some of our clients through their NVQ qualification. Those clients need practical work experience and when CPUK offered the opportunity for stewarding work at the Jubilee event, our employment advisers notified appropriate people on the programme."

Speaking to the Guardian, Molly Prince, managing director of Close Protection UK, said the situation was "an unfortunate set of circumstances but not lack of care on the part of CPUK."

She added: "We had staff travel from several locations and some arrived earlier than others at the meeting point, which was why some had to hang around."

Former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has called on the government to investigate CPUK. Voicing his concerns on Radio 4’s Today programme, he questioned whether this situation would be a common occurrence during the Olympic Games. "Is this the Olympic model? This company has bid for the contract at the Olympics, at which they will be paid £8.45, because it's the minimum wage, but which conditions will they be paying for?"

According to Levitt, applications have been made for each worker to receive an SIA security card – essential for those working in the security and events industries. "CPUK is covering the £255 per person cost for the card, which is valid for three years. This collaboration with CPUK means that some, if not all of those participating in the Jubilee work will be selected for a paid contract at the London Olympics."

Will temporary labour providers exploit workers during the Olympics? What safeguards are in place to stop this from happening? Comment below to have your say.

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