Transport for London has all but given up the ghost over transport delivery in London during the Olympics: they have now resorted to issuing leaflets at critical London railway stations such as Charing Cross, advising people to walk to work during the Olympics. The quality of public transport is being pushed back 2000 years to Greek Olympic days – use shank’s pony!
In another rushed move, after only nine hours of Commons and House of Lords debate, the Coalition rammed through emergency legislation to suspend Sunday working legislation for the eight Sundays over the Olympics. The convention is that MPs and Lords have a free vote over matters affecting Sunday working. These measures followed a three-line Coalition whip to lift protection and rights at work for thousands of shop staff.
USDAW, the shop workers union, surveyed 20,000 members and found 78 per cent opposed to the suspension of Sunday working legislation. Half (51 per cent) were already under pressure from employers to work Sundays, and 73 per cent felt they were being pressurised to work Sundays if opening hours were extended. And the last public opinion poll on Sunday working and extending shop hours in 2010 found 89 per cent of the public opposed to extending Sunday working.
Meanwhile, South London residents have received an apology from the Ministry of Defence over screaming jets, low flying helicopters, attack boats on the Thames and similar silliness associated with the early May London-wide week-long “anti-terrorism” exercises associated with the Games. Calls for public meetings and enquiries into the siting of ground-to-air missiles in east and southeast London are being ignored.
G4S, previously known as Securicor, the world’s second-largest provider of security, mercenaries and privatised police services, pocketed £30 million in profit for the first quarter of 2012 just for security at empty venues for the Olympics. They will clear £200 million for security during the eight weeks of the Olympics and Paralympics. ■