Unions and Olympic Delivery Authority agree construction deal for 2012 games

Construction unions have finally signed an industrial relations deal for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Negotiations between the three main unions – Unite, GMB and Ucatt – and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) have dragged on for months over union demands for 100% direct employment on the project.

Following “detailed and constructive discussions”, the ODA and unions have signed a Memorandum of Agreement which sets out a framework for a “positive, partnership-based”, approach to industrial relations.

However, construction industry experts have dismissed the agreement as “a load of waffle”.

Up to 9,000 construction workers will be employed by ODA contractors on London 2012 construction projects.

The agreement includes:

  • A partnership approach to delivering successfully the venues and infrastructure on time and on budget.
  • Application of existing construction and allied industries National Working Rule Agreements.
  • Establishment of a dedicated review group to meet regularly.
  • Encouragement by the ODA to contractors to employ and train local people and provide a safe working environment in which employees are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Encouragement by the ODA to contractors to commit to the ethos of a directly employed workforce.

ODA chief executive David Higgins said: “This agreement reinforces our commitment to high employment standards. Creating a safe and positive working environment is vital to delivering this unique project on time and within the agreed budget.”

Speaking on behalf of the joint construction unions, Unite national secretary Bob Blackman and Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie, said: “The unions want Britain and London to achieve great success at the games and after with a real and lasting legacy.

“But most of all we want the thousands of workers who build and deliver the games to be safe, well treated, properly rewarded and their unions fully involved. We therefore welcome this new agreement.”

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