Trade unions may have backed themselves into a corner by calling for 100% direct employment on Olympic Games building projects, according to a source close to the talks with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).The source told Personnel Today’s sister title Contract Journal that union resolve on the issue was weakening as it became apparent the demand was unrealistic. Construction union Ucatt, which is leading the negotiations, has made it clear that it cannot accept a position where 100% direct employment is not agreed to.
But the source said super union Unite, which is also involved in the talks, was willing to give ground. “The ODA has the muscle to make sure the Games go ahead anyway. There was some expectation that the government would step in, but when that didn’t materialise, people began to think twice.” A fudged compromise was now the most likely result of negotiations, the source added.
A spokesman for Ucatt denied the claim. He said: There have been no formal talks with the ODA. Our commitment to direct employment is total. Direct employment was achievable at Heathrow Terminal 5 – there is absolutely no reason why it is not achievable for the Olympics.”
Earlier this month, the ODA said it was continuing with “positive negotiations” with unions over construction projects.