Private security firm Close Protection UK (CPUK), used unpaid labour and workers on sub-minimum wage pay to provide security for the Diamond Jubilee pageant on Sunday, the Guardian reported
30 unpaid 'jobseekers' on the government's notorious workfare scheme and 50 'apprentices' paid a dismal £2.60 per hour, were bussed in to London at 3am, and had to sleep under London Bridge before beginning a 14 hour shift, having travelled from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth.
Two workers, who didn't want to be named for fear of losing their benefits, claimed that they were told that if they refused to work for free at the Jubilee they would not be employed at the upcoming Olympic Games.
The CPUK workers were woken at around 5.30 in the morning and given uniforms. One woman explained that a minibus designated for women to change in was locked and so the workers had to get 'undressed in public in the freezing cold and rain.' They had no access to toilettes for 24 hours and were taken to a 'swampy' campsite after their shift ended.
Expenses scandal MP John Prescott called on the Home Secretary Theresa May to call an inquiry into CPUK's viability as employers. Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, talking to The Huffington Post, asked 'Why did they not use people from London rather than bus in slave labour from outside?'
The news brings further scandal to the controversial workfare scheme, condemned by many as form of forced labour.
The Jubilee was promoted as an event that would bring the country together, but has only further exposed the widening class divide as austerity bites. Speaking at a public meeting on Sunday, Counterfire's Lindsey German condemned the Jubilee and the Olympics as 'bread and circuses without the bread.'
Dan is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner. His most recent documentary was The New Scramble For Africa and his documentaries have appeared regularly on the Islam Channel. He is an organiser for Counterfire and a regular contributor to Counterfire site.
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