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Jobs, Mc-jobs and Mc-non-jobs

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“By staging the Games in this part of the city [Stratford], the most enduring legacy of the Olympics will be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there. The Olympic Park will become a hub for east London, bringing communities together and acting as a catalyst for profound social and economic change. It will become a model of social inclusion, opening up opportunities for education, cultural and skills development and jobs for people across the UK and London, but especially in the Lea Valley and surrounding areas.”

London Olympic Bid Book, 2004

Despite Olympic boosters misrepresenting the positive impact that the London Olympics would have on employment in the East End where unemployment is high, particularly among young adults, local politicians have realized the extent to which they fell for the hype;

“…we were sold the idea of hosting [the Olympics] on the understanding that as well as being an amazing, historic sporting event, they would provide the opportunity for regeneration in a part of London that has historically not had the jobs and investment of west London and the outer boroughs.

Overall, the figures for the number of local people employed on the Olympic park are poor and disappointing, and the low proportion of local young people who have found positions as apprentices on the Olympic site is a scandal.”

Diane Abbott MP Hackney North, Westminster Hall, 9 Mar 2010, 2012 Olympics (Employment), Column 54WH

Sir Robin [Wales, Mayor of Newham], a member of the London 2012 organising committee, said he was increasingly concerned that the Olympics would repeat the mistakes of Canary Wharf, which created 110,000 jobs but with only a few hundred going to local people.

Evening Standard 25 Nov 2009

If they had read the academics who had researched previous Olympics they might have been aware beforehand;

“Undoubtedly, facilities can generate employment, particularly through the construction phase, and may generate some employment in the longer-term though in the case of event employment much of it will be part-time or casual and low-skilled. Integral, however to the successful contribution of such facilities to job creation will be the extent to which facilities have a policy to train and employ people from within the target area.”

C Michael Hall, Urban entrepreneurship, corporate interests and sports mega-events, in; Sports Mega-events: Social scientific analyses of a global phenomenon, Eds; J. Horne & W. Manzenreiter, Blackwell, (2006)

Newham Workplace are currently advertising jobs available during the Games.

Over 4,000 Cleaning Operatives. Experience in cleaning is not always required but the positions do require experience of providing excellent customer care.

Over 3,000 Catering Positions in a range of roles including customer-facing roles such as waiting staff and back of house roles such as kitchen assistants and chefs.

Over 1,500 Security Staff in positions such as Security Guards, Supervisors, CCTV operators. Applicants will need to hold a current SIA licence.

Over 1,000 Retail Assistants. -Retail experience will be preferred with emphasis on customer service skills, experience of cash handling and product knowledge.

These jobs of course are available mostly under short-term contracts, although there are also a few long-term contracts offered.


As well as all these Mcjobs there are also the 70,000 volunteers who are being recruited and trained by McDonalds for roles such as interpreting, first aid, checking tickets and giving travel advice. Any unemployed volunteers will be offered an online course, a City & Guilds Level 2 Award in the Principles of Customer Service. The qualification is transferable and counts towards just under 10% of an apprenticeship in hospitality in the future. Skills Minister John Hayes MP said: "This qualification builds on the Personal Best pre-employment programme that has targeted some of the most disadvantaged people in our community and given them the chance to volunteer at the London 2012 Games.

ATOS S.A. the IT integration supplier to the Olympics since 2002 has pursued a growth strategy worldwide. Their contract work at each Olympic Games profits from using the free labour of many volunteers. At Beijing in 2008 their 1,000 salaried staff worked in conjunction with 2,500 unpaid volunteers.

.: Sir Robin Wales (left) shaking hands with WestfieldSir Robin Wales (left) shaking hands with Westfield

Westfield and retail jobs

Realising the low paying jobs and the brevity of changes in local unemployment brought about by the Olympics Robin Wales is now investing his hopes in the job creation potential of the Stratford City shopping centre in the medium to long term future;

“ The Olympics, I would argue, is more a state of mind and more about inspiration. The actual development that is taking place, that is why we value Westfield more highly because those will be more local jobs and we have an opportunity of getting people into those jobs, hence the Retail Academy and the large sums of money we are putting into that to make sure that our residents are able to access that.

Those are 8,500 retail jobs which are longer-term jobs and those are not just unskilled jobs, many of our people are unskilled so we need jobs like that but also you can begin to work through into a career, so opportunities come from that as well.

There are fantastic transport links and people will come and they will build things there. It will develop as it develops. It has all stopped for a while, except for Westfield and, to be fair, ExCeL as well. What will happen is that as the economy picks up the jobs will come and we must make sure—and this is the big challenge—that people can access those jobs.”

Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, 17 March 2010

However a local politician like Sir Robin Wales functions in a political environment where he is constrained to accept offers of investments in the locality which he cannot realistically refuse.

Sir Robin accuses central government of not stimulating the local economy properly, maintaining that 'too often we are being forced to step in as a local authority to make sure the momentum is maintained.'

Kevin McCloud Telegraph 22 Jul 2011

“As neoliberal economic policies and programs of labor market ‘deregulation’ not only permit but positively promote income inequality, unstable work and underemployment, so a barrage of brutally complementary social control and economic inclusion policies serve minimally to underwrite the basic reproduction needs of those marooned on the margins of social, economic, and political life. In place of redistribution by way of income transfer programs, progressive taxation, and social service delivery is a regressive regime in which the working poor are trapped between unemployment and dead-end service jobs, indirectly ‘funded’ by the discretionary expenditures of the cash rich but time-poor middle class.”

From: Jamie Peck, Neoliberalizing States: thin policies/hard outcomes, Progress in Human Geography 25,3 (2001) pp. 445-455

“Behind the spin of bringing economic regeneration to an impoverished and predominantly black and minority area is the knowledge that those that live here are often the least well-equipped to effectively resist exploitation, through their exclusion and marginalisation from political power and decision making.”

‘Total policing’ at London 2012 is a recipe for more racial discrimination, Estelle du Boulay. Guardian, 6 April 2012

The result in Stratford of these “trickle down” economic enforcement programmes is a militarized spectacle of elite sports wedded to an exclusionary display of upmarket consumption located in an area where gentrification by displacement of the most vulnerable counts as successful regeneration.

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