OLYMPIC EMPLOYMENT REGULATIONS NEED CLARITY
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OLYMPIC EMPLOYMENT REGULATIONS NEED CLARITY

It seems that most of the live events industry agrees that the list of requirements for suppliers laid down by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is confusing and difficult to understand.  Here, Heath Freeman, managing director of leading nationwide crewing company Pinnacle Crew, tries to unravel the facts and make sense of the requirements on employment.

 

Most people I have talked to in the live events industry recently are saying that there are a great number of hoops to jump through to fulfill LOCOG’s requirements for suppliers at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  And the standards set for the supply of staff and labour in LOCOG’s Sustainable Sourcing Guide adds yet one more confusion.

The Guide asks that “where suppliers and licensees intend to use temporary/agency staff they should seek to ensure that any labour providers supplying such staff are members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and, if relevant, are licensed by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA)”.

On its website the GLA states that it is a government agency established to regulate those organisations that supply labour or use workers to provide services in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging.

So as far as crewing and other staff supply companies in the live events industry are concerned, I think this can be safely ignored.

The REC, the representative body for the UK’s private recruitment and staffing industry, may be far more relevant to us.  But, there are certain areas that still need to be made clear.  For example, do organisations in the live events industry – such as crewing companies, providers of stand staff, production companies who employ freelancers – fall into the category of the “recruitment and staffing industry”?

If we look at the government’s The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, the Employment Agencies Act 1972 and the Employment Relations Act 199, we will find definitions of employment agencies or employment businesses.

Broadly speaking an employment agency introduces work-seekers to client employers for direct, permanent employment by those employers.  Of more importance to the live events industry is the definition of an “employment business”.  To quote directly from the regulations:

“An employment business engages work-seekers under either contracts for services or contracts of employment and supplies those work-seekers to client hirers for temporary assignments or contracts where they will be under the hirers’ supervision or control”.

This is where we get into a grey area for crewing companies, suppliers of stand staff and the like, who in the main employ their staff on a job-by-job contract basis.  It is a highly moot point as to whether, once your team is on-site, whether they remain under your supervision and control or that of your client’s.

Even legal advice that we have taken does not make it any clearer.  We were told that in the end it comes down to who has the degree of control, who creates the schedule of work, and even if there is a team leader on site supervising crew, who supervises the team leader?

If we feel that it is our clients who have the ultimate control, then I believe each and every company that provides staff to the events industry needs to consider joining the REC as we could all be thought of as an employment business – not just by the law and regulations, but by LOCOG too.  And, since crewing and other staffing is often the last element of the supply chain to be put in place, we need to be prepared now rather than later when at the last minute – we may discover we cannot even be considered as an Olympics supplier.

Ideally, LOCOG itself needs to clear this up.  London 2012 is too important to all of us to miss opportunities because of a technicality.

A version of this article can be found in eventindustrynews: http://www.eventindustrynews.co.uk/2011/05/olympic-employment-regulations-need-clarity.html

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