Why aren't G4S employees showing up for work? [London Olympics]

Hope I got the name right. For those who don’t know, G4S is the security firm responsible for, well, security at the 2012 Olympics. There’s been a bit of a kerfluffle going on in the UK because, as the guardian states -

I’ve tried to find explanations for why the staff is missing in action, but I’ve drawn zilch. Is it a strike of some sort? What’s going on?

The staff isn’t missing in action or striking or any such thing. It’s the management that, despite having had a couple of years to do it, haven’t been able to recruit enough people :smack:, which they have neglected to inform the organisers about until now, when participants and spectators are beginning to arrive in town.

What I’ve heard is that a) the rotas are a complete mess, so people aren’t sure where or when they’re supposed to be showing up, and b) contracts were also a mess, so people were not sure how many hours they were getting, or when they were actually going to get paid, so a lot of contractors have decided it’s not worth the messing around, and have taken other jobs.

I have no idea how true this is though.

Edited to add: and even if all the contractors had shown up, they would still be massively short.

yep i heard from a friend in the smoke that the security was an absolute shambles. And as they admitted that quiet a few of the staff cant even speak English…

Anecdotally, I heard that some of the people who signed up from outside London had hoped / assumed / been led to believe they would get some help with accommodation. When it was eventually made clear that this was not the case, a considerable number of people dropped out.
This is friend of a friend stuff, so take with a pinch. And of course, it is still just a part of the picture; according to The Times they were blaming a software glitch now.

Were they the firm involved in that incident on the Jubilee day? Where they shipped a whole load of people on Jobseekers Allowance in from Cardiff or somewhere, and then neglected to provide accommodation, changing facilities and so on?

Ah, no… you’re thinking of last week’s debacle. We’re now finding out that quite a lot of the people they had managed to recruit aren’t turning up to work as expected.

I’m beginning to suspect that much of their recruitment drive was outsourced to Sir John Falstaff plc.

Wow, there are so many security gaffes that people can’t even keep them straight!

I wonder how it’ll be once the games have actually started…

No, that was the government’s own back-to-work scheme.

Yeah, it was people on the Work Programme involved, but WP involves the government referring you to a private company which then refers you to other private companies so you can work for them for nothing. So I was wondering if G4S was the “employer” (scare quotes as, to my mind, actual employers pay their staff) responsible.

My younger brother (who is a university student mostly) has a job with G4S doing games security. Or at least he thinks he does.

He knows that it’s going to be somewhere in Britain. Indeed, I believe he’s narrowed it down to England and Sctoland.

He got told the other day, with no notice whatsover, he had to be at the other end of the country with a gazillion documents in twelve hours. He told them that wasn’t possible. They’ll be back in touch.

They haven’t a clue what they’re doing.

**Edit: If anyone has some specific questions, I can pass them on to him. **

I’m not even sure that the folk not turning up are even G4S employees, as such. * I can’t cite this as it was from listening to a BBC report on the radio, but they are people (the chief exec of the company stated today that they were looking to target the currently unemployed and students) who at various times have undergone an unpaid 12-day training course from G4S. In the intervening time, many of them have got other jobs or whatever. After all, all G4S are offering them is a few weeks work at £8.50 an hour. £8.50 an hour is above minimum wage, but it’s no use if you have to pay your own accommodation bill. Who could have foretold a problem with this? Not G4S management, for sure.

Anyway, it’s a total clusterfuck, and the G4S CEO was embarrassingly poor in front of a Commons Committee today. He promised that G4S would pay for all expenses incurred by moving in extra police officers and soldiers. Hopefully the squaddies will enjoy their new duties - better than what most of them have been getting recently.

  • to be clear, they are people who registered with G4S in the hope of getting some shifts from them.

Worse than that, the plan was, according to the most recent Private Eye, to recruit several thousand volunteers, who would work for the multinational corporation for free as part of a profit making contract. Volunteers have been hard to come by.

Is this what’s known as “muddling through”?

If you pay peanuts…you get monkeys (or not, as the case may be). This is what happens when you go for the firm who quoted 25% less than everyone else.

(Never mind, I reckon “They” have had a serious security tip-off and NEED to use troops who are skilled at manning checkpoints, rather than some ill-motivated, badly paid “guards” who wouldn’t know a Jihadi if he arrived on the Tube. Which he probably will…)

Anecdote time -

Way back in 1984 I was a student and got a security job at the Los Angles games. They had 2 different companies doing security, I was working for Wells Fargo, can’t remember what the other company was. When I signed up I was able to choose from a handful of sites/events that were close to home and they would assign me to one. I got one of the easiest but most boring possible posts, the yachting venue at Long Beach Marina on the midnight to 8:00am shift. The training consisted of a one day orientation in a classroom and everything was on-the-job after that. I don’t know what (if any) type of screening they did. It seemed pretty well organized, I knew well in advance where and when I was supposed to be. The shift that started at 8:00 had some problems with people not turning up so I did a few double shifts but it wasn’t too bad. Overall an interesting experience.

They aren’t doing background checks on people? Isn’t that easy for terrorists to register as security guards?

If they are foreigners (as huge numbers will be, for who else who choose to do this work?) it will be impossible to do any meaningful checks on them anyway, beyond “nothing negative noted against this name” (which is probably false anyway).

G4 provided me with “security” when I was in Iraq. Some of the highlights: their security officer* fell asleep in the passenger seat as we drove through Tikrit; and they provided me with 7 Iraqi security guards for my houe in Hillah, but 8 showed up; when I asked them which one wasn’t their guy, they didn’t know.

*This security officer was later killed in a road ambush, so fortunately he died in his sleep.

They are utterly incompetent.

OK, so the checkpoint charlies are hired for a short stint.

What I would love to know, is who was hired, and how much prep did they have, to run the system? If we go by “one supervisor per 20 employees” (probably a serious underestimate) then how many people, and for how long, were hired to do schedules, to manage the security crew at each site, to determine who patrols where and what needs watching at a site, etc.? Not to mention phoning people to tell them their schedule and ask if they plan to show up? It sounds more and more like they just expected people to show up on the first day security was needed and know what to do.

What about preclearance sweeps? DIdn’t the IRA plant a bomb in a hotel once during renovations, 6 months before Thatcher and her party were there for a convention? What part of that sort of security does G4S do?

If you don’t pay enough peanuts, even the monkeys don’t show up. You just end up with bird droppings.