Greenwich Council’s job agency has been advertising jobs that appear to contravene Labour policy in some areas – with zero hour and unpaid training positions on offer.
Here’s an example:
Job Title: British Music Experience Assistant x 10 Employer: AEG Hours: 0 hour contract – shift work must be flexible and able to work weekends Rate £7.25
They are also currently advertising for care assistants on six months, zero hour contracts paying barely above the minimum wage. Training is unpaid too (and at three days is quite a loss in income) and people are expected to be able to work anytime from 6am to 10pm but no guarantee that will be available.
Whilst zero hours jobs are fine for some, employers have received criticism for becoming too reliant on their use and the lack of secure hours can leave many unable to pay rent, especially under Universal Credit. Labour politicians have been very critical in the past.
One resident contacted me to state he never heard from them again after stating zero hours were inappropriate for him.
I’ve covered Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB) on this site many times before. It has a website that almost never had any jobs listed on its online portal over recent months.
It is a huge recipient of Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy income from new developments (to the detriment of many other spending areas) yet frequently duplicates job agencies in its work, such as advertising coffee shop baristas using public funds.
S106 income dedicated to GLLaB totals over £40 million in recent years. That’s not far off the total amount for “affordable housing” at £50m.
- Local Community – £10.9 million,
- Health – £10.5 million
- Parks and Open Space – £7.2 million.
- Public realm – £8.9 million.
Any wonder Greenwich lags as one of London’s borough’s with the biggest obesity problem? It ranks 27th out of 32.
Forced to open up
Greenwich Council only recently started to reveal how they spend income after it became a legal requirement. This revealed the very high percentage of income going towards GLLaB.
That’s not to say it does not do good work – but the amounts it receives are vast.
Other authorities manage to run employment schemes as well as dedicate sizable sums of Section 106 income towards improving parks, streets and towns. In Greenwich income is skewed to an organisation with many flaws, that duplicates other job agencies and takes huge amounts of public money.
Let’s have a look at the amount GLLaB takes from various schemes. One recent example is a proposed Abbey Wood block now at the Mayor’s Office on appeal.
One of London’s most deprived estates is directly next door with high levels of health issues and a shopping area and park in much need of investment.
Yet Greenwich wanted to allocate £400,000 of £1.25m income from the new scheme to GLLaB. Not one penny was allocated to improving local open space, parks or other improvements to the 1950s estate. Eventually the developer agreed to cough up £50k they weren’t obliged to. It won’t go very far.
Parcel Force opened a depot in Charlton at Bugsby’s Way in 2016. Many know how poor Bugsby’s Way is for pedestrians.
Yet out of £234k S106 income, £220k went to GLLaB and £14k to monitoring the application. Click below to enlarge:
Mind you, when Sainsbury’s did see £500k allocated to public realm in 2013/14 (a rare exception) nothing was spent.
Ikea nearby is bringing £486k to GLLaB. Nothing at all allocated to improving the local public realm (despite poor streets for pedestrians) and just £115k to “open space”. £1.7 million is going to road changes – which to be fair does include a couple of crossings but is that enough?
Callis Yard tower in Woolwich is currently being built. £89k for GLLaB from that. Zero for public realm or open space in the area, which isn’t great by any stretch:
Stuffed with clutter and obstacles and straight out of the 1970s manual for road design.
Greenwich Millenium Village stages 3,4 and 5 brings in £800k for GLLaB. Just £155k for Public Realm. I supposed even that sum is better than most areas.
I could go on and on. Areas with various needs do not see much, if any, money from new developments in their midst as so much goes to GLLaB.
As stated earlier, GLLaB does do good work. Training, out-reach and more but transparency is needed. Why does it take so much of the pie? How can it’s website not list any jobs for months at a time? What safeguards does it have against zero hour contracts and worker exploitation? Is it time scarce resources were spread a little more evenly across the borough instead of so much ending up there?
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