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Olympic Recruits ‘Paid Less Than London Living Wage’
London Evening Standard
Matthew Beard, Sports News Correspondent

October 18, 2010
View the Original Article

Almost one in five Olympic site workers says he or she is being paid less than the Mayor's suggested £7.60-an-hour London living wage, official statistics show.

The 18 per cent of new Olympic recruits affected are about 1,100 contractors, thought to be mainly security and catering workers, employed by the Olympic Delivery Authority. It is being urged by unions to pay them more.

A spokesman for construction union UCATT, said: “The Olympics is the most prestigious project in London. It is astounding that the London Living Wage cannot be used to ensure all site workers are not exploited.”

The news comes less than three weeks after University College London agreed to pay the wage to campus cleaners. That move was heralded as a great victory for the cleaners, who had been on £5.80 an hour, and for those who fought for them for two years.

The Olympic authority said independent surveys showed almost total living-wage compliance. It said figures were obtained when workers enrolled on site and there was a delay before the wage was implemented.

The ODA added that some workers mistakenly gave a lower net pay figure, a claim denied by unions.

An ODA spokesman said: “We want to ensure they are paid fairly and … have encouraged our contractors to pay the London living wage from the outset.”

Latest ODA figures showed barely half — 54 per cent — of the 6,243 Olympic Park workers live in London. One in five (21 per cent) is resident in the five host boroughs. Of the 4,090 Athletes' Village workers, one in four is a host borough resident and 64 per cent live in London.

The ODA Job, Skills, Futures targets include delivering a construction work force at least 15 per cent of which is made up of host borough residents.

ODA chairman John Armitt said: “We are providing jobs for more than 10,000 workers and meeting our commitments to safety, training and employing local people and apprentices.”