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Union Olympics call

Workers' Games rep wants building unions to lead 2012 construction projects

WORKERS' rights need to be protected on Olympic construction projects, the trade union rep on the board of the Olympic Delivery Authority warned last week.

Barry Camfield, the assistant general secretary of transport union T&G, said: 'The TUC needs to set up a task group covering three areas ? construction, transport and services. At the moment trade unions are not a key partner in this.

'The time to do this is now.

The union's Olympic task group should be publicly campaigning to ensure national agreements are recognised.

'We should be arguing for a memorandum of understanding between the mayor, secretary of state, the ODA and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.' Mr Camfield, who was speaking at an Institute of Employment Rights conference, said discussions to establish the cross-union Olympic task group were underway.

He added: 'One thing I'm arguing for is active client status for the ODA ? you don't just appoint a contractor and allow them to run it. We need an 'over the shoulder' role, holding the delivery partner to account and keeping a close eye on things.

'I will be trying to make sure that all four construction trade unions are front and centre on this.' IER president Professor Keith Ewing said the ODA should follow the example of BAA's £4.2 billion Terminal 5 project, with strong collective agreements, exemplary levels of health and safety and trade union support from contractors and clients.

In his report, Global Rights in Global Companies: Going for Gold at the UK Olympics, Prof Ewing welcomed the ODA's commitment to 'employee representation' and 'ethical employment sourcing' in draft procurement principles published last year.

But he added: 'This should include provision for trade union membership, access and facilities, as well as a role in dispute resolution ? and at least a full commitment to International Labour Organisation standards.'