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Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Tue Jun 5 11:06:52 BST 2012

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Unemployed bussed in to steward river pageant

Coachloads of jobless people brought in to work unpaid on river pageant as 
part of Work Programme

Shiv Malik, Guardian On-line, Monday 4th June 2012

A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work 
as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to 
sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.

Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to 
London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government's 
Work Programme.

Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their 
benefits, said they had to camp under London Bridge the night before the 
pageant. They told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in 
public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy 
campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain 
on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.

One young worker said she was on duty between London Bridge and Tower 
Bridge during the £12m river spectacle of a 1,000-boat flotilla and members 
of the Royal family sail by . She said that the security firm Close 
Protection UK, which won a stewarding contract for the jubilee events, gave 
her a plastic see-through poncho and a high-visibility jacket for 
protection against the rain.

Close Protection UK confirmed that it was using up to 30 unpaid staff and 50 
apprentices, who were paid £2.80 an hour, for the three-day event in 
London. A spokesman said the unpaid work was a trial for paid roles at the 
Olympics, which it had also won a contract to staff. Unpaid staff were 
expected to work two days out of the three-day holiday.


- -- 


"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

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