A ‘protest specialist’ HR chief has landed a £100,000 contract to placate angry rioters expected at the G20 summit in London this week.
Jay Okè, the former HR director at a major City institution, was parachuted in by Downing Street on Tuesday to bring “peace and harmony” to any tensions that may arise on the frontline of today’s Financial Fools Day protest ahead of the G20 summit.
Okè will join the march today to ask people to keep the noise down when chanting, talk them into calming down when they get angry thinking about the recession, and to politely ask them to avoid going near shopfronts so that traders can stay open for business. His secret weapons include incense sticks and candles to help bring peace and tranquillity to the scene.
Okè told Personnel Today: “I plan to ease tensions on the frontline of the march today, and have a few tricks up my sleeve to deal with angry rioters, such as peaceful incense sticks I can burn on the day.”
However, employers have already told thousands of staff not to come into work, and warned bankers to dress down so as not to be targeted.
Yet Okè, who heads the Centre for Rapid Action Protest thinktank (CRAP) in his spare time, is confident he can act as a gatekeeper during the march between rioters, protesters and businesses.
“I was made redundant recently but this really makes use of my core HR skills: listening, negotiating and so on. Who knows where this might lead?,” he said.
Disruption to the capital’s businesses is expected to cost £5m a day during the G20 protests. Okè said he could not guarantee his work would bring this cost down, but promised to spend his lump-sum payment on CRAP.