Nick Clegg in April:
“From today, if you are 18-24 and out of work, you can get down to a Job Centre like this because they will be able to offer you the opportunities to either earn or learn, to either take up work, which we will part subsidise, or the expanded apprentice prospects or the increasing number of work experience placements.”
Over a hundred people spent the night of Saturday 3rd June under London Bridge. Some of them were being paid “apprenticeship wages” of £2.80 an hour, learning valuable rough sleeping skills. Many were working for free, though they’d expected to be paid. Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, says that £1.5 million was allocated for security at the Jubilee, and wants to know, among other good questions:
When Close Protection UK were awarded the stewarding contract, was this on the basis that they’d use unpaid labour (and if so, were the organisers happy with this?) Or were the organisers led to believe that the stewards would be paid, and the contract price fixed accordingly?
American blogger Atrios says (via):
Aside from the obvious “slave labor” element of this, using people like this for security by a private security is a complete scam. It’s just collecting a bunch of money from the government to pretend to provide security. Security people need to be trained, have authority, and actually give a shit to serve any legitimate purpose. The only purpose here is “take tax dollars [sic] and run.”
Possibly we have a different standard of large crowds in Britain than in America, but I have been a volunteer steward, and I’ve been at events with volunteer stewards. I didn’t watch the river pageant: it was a lovely sunny afternoon and, while I’m no monarchist, I don’t get a kick out of watching an elderly lady get rained on.* But it appears the main problem at the event was hypothermia, not security trouble.
You can see how it could have worked if the plan had been from the start to use volunteer stewards for the pageant crowds, with a one and a half million budget. Continue reading