Congratulations to H&V News for staging yet another great awards night. Another Gold was presented to Howard Shiplee (B&ES Gold Award winner for his role in managing the London 2012 Olympics’ projects).
Howard went to great lengths to praise our industry for its involvement in the Olympic Park in Stratford, which will become the focus of the world in just a few weeks.
“Pat yourselves on the back and go out and crow about your achievements,” Howard urged all of those that had any involvement in the Olympic showpiece.
Hold on! Just heard the starter’s pistol… Seems we have a false start. Back you all come and let us start again. Apparently someone forgot to tell us the amendments to the Olympic rules.
Amendment 1: Any company that is not part of the “Olympic Brand” will not pat themselves or crow about their contribution to this world-famous, once-in-a-lifetime project.
Nor will any such company use this project in any marketing materials, websites or anything that - wait for it - “will dilute the Olympic brand”.
Any company which transgresses this rule will face enormous financial penalties. According to reports in The Sun newspaper, this rule will affect 10,000 companies.
So what does this mean to all of those SMEs that are the true heroes of this project?
Those SMEs that have managed the labour skills, financed the project through their own trade accounts, waited for late payments and lain awake at night to ensure that the London Olympic brand shines out to the rest of the world and demonstrates what we in England are capable of?
It means quite simply that they have been mugged.
Could someone suitably qualified please comment on the question of restrictive practices or unfair contract terms?
And if there is a threat of major financial penalties, does this mean that the big boys are going to withhold those monies, just in case? And what about any other disputes regarding underpayment?
I can easily imagine some ludicrous submissions in front of the adjudicator.
Case 1: Someone vs The Olympic Brand; Contract name: Can’t tell you; Claimant’s name: It’s a secret.
When do the little guys get the rewards? When will the governing bodies understand who does the work? When will our industry realise that it is us, ‘the dog’, being wagged by the tail as usual?
So let us not accept this draconian amendment to the rules. I propose that any company that was involved in the Olympic park project add a secret sign into all of their marketing literature and onto their websites, and so on.
Something recognisable, but not infringing the Olympic brand. What about something in the shape of a large ‘V’ reflecting the hope of Olympic victory for Great Britain?
What was my involvement in the Olympic project?… Oh no, I’m not falling for that.
John Bishop, director, Birchcroft