Thursday, 12 July 2012

G4 Shite

Logical, really. Why pay extra for a service when you’ve already got fully equipped and (theoretically at least) qualified personnel sitting around doing sod-all and getting paid for it? Really, why stop at the Olympics? Surely, if you’ve got an (admittedly shrinking) army lying around you should put it to use whenever you can? I see those blokes in their useless camouflage walking around central London quite a bit, and have recently noticed the awful Wolff Olins logo stitched to their sleeves, just below where the stripes normally go. I assumed they were on ‘furlough’ or whatever, getting a bit of Blighty before heading back to the deadly wastelands of Helmand Province, but maybe they’re here all the time, doing jankers or some such in barracks like the horrible little men (and women) they are. Wouldn’t it be sensible to get the sappers digging up the roads, have the army drivers out in cabs, put the uxb men in amongst the Old Bill, mobilise the catering corps into swanky West End restaurants – that kind of thing?

Anyway, far be it from me in my position on the inside as it were to criticise, and fearful as I am of inviting the cyber goons on to my head, I have heard some things about this latest Games-related fiasco. A friend of mine, being some time out of work when he did so, applied for one of the security jobs over at Stratford. He went as far as attending three of the many required day long induction and training sessions before taking the brave step of deciding to drop it like a hot brick. He told me quite a bit about the process, which seemed fairly arduous, I must admit.

Besides his misgivings about whether he was right for the job – he said that he would be expected to confiscate food items from people who were coming to the Games, so that the appointed sponsors would have a monopoly on feeding the 5 million their burgers and chips, and felt distinctly uncomfortable about this – he highlighted a more major concern. In the latter stages of his final training session, the people in his class were asked to sign a sheet of paper so that they could move on to the next stage, and take one more step towards actually getting a job. With pay, no less! The terms and conditions on this sheet were such that the employees would be tied to G4S for a period of one year after the Games ended. If they left within this period, they would be held liable for the cost of training. This could be as much as £5,000, which is not insignificant, I'm sure you will agree. In addition to this, they would possibly be asked to work as far away as Scotland at a day’s notice - either before, during or after the Games.

Wisely, in my opinion, he decided not to sign this bit of paper and walked out into an uncertain future. I’m glad to say he has since found work, and on considerably better terms than this daylight robbery, I'm sure. In addition, he will be able to take his sandwiches with him when he goes to work, and will not be expected to confiscate flasks of tea and McVitie’s Digestives wrapped in foil from respectable spectacle and kagoule wearing Olympic Games fans who have travelled all the way from Doncaster to watch a bit of the coxless fours.

Is it any wonder, listening to that, that G4S have failed to recruit enough staff for this crazy venture? It is a wonder indeed that they have managed to recruit anyone at all. Well, it will all begin, as the French say, in a quinze jours, and then we’ll see what it will be like. I’m not allowed to put anything online about my experiences, so will be relying on the fact that nobody reads this to keep me out of trouble.

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