Church groups join living wage campaign for Olympics site workers

By staff writers
February 5, 2007

Campaigners who are part of a London-wide citizens organisation, which brings together a wide range of community and faith groups, held a demonstration at the end of last week, calling for fair pay for workers involved in preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.

Gathering outside the Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel in Vauxhall, Central London, where David Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), was meeting other senior officials, the 'living wage' campaigners said that promises made as part of the bid about fair treatment of workers were being sidelined.

For some months London Citizens have been lobbying the ODA to ensure that a minimum wage (£6.70) is written into every contract awarded to developers of the Olympic site.

TELCO, the East London branch of London Citizens, has recently found security guards employed on sites for only £6 per hour.

Earlier the Olympic Delivery Authority made pledges to honour the demand for a ‘living wage’, which the Greater London Authority has fixed at £7.05 per hour. Mayor Ken Livingstone is under pressure to ensure that the agreement is honoured.

Members of community groups, trades unions, churches and schools were among those joining the protest. They included a group of students from Trinity Roman Catholic school in East London, according to the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission.

Matthew Bolton of London Citizens declared: "The ODA have committed themselves further than ever before, and we will keep on till they deliver the pledge they have made."

Church leaders across London have supported the ‘living wage’ citizens initiative, which has a particular commitment for the treatment of migrant workers.

When London won the bid for the next Olympic Games ahead of Paris and other contenders on 6 July 2007, much was made of the incoming benefit to Stratford and the East London economy.

Campaigners are determined to highlight the need for local people, and especially those on lower incomes, to be included.

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