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What has it meant for construction labour and employment?

About the symposium

Over the past three decades the Olympic Games have developed as archetypical “mega-events” which due to their scale, complexity and projection have lasting consequences for the cities, regions and countries that host them. It is striking, however, that most existing studies have little to say about the impact of the Games on the industry most obviously impacted by them: construction – and, in particular, what their legacy is for construction labour and employment. The seminar is about the employment, working conditions, labour resourcing, and industrial relations in different Olympic construction projects, in particular Barcelona 1992, Athens 2004 and London 2012. These present very contrasting legacies of the Games for construction labour and, at the same time, highlight the way in which the Olympics have served as catalysts for change in the construction industry at both the national and European levels.

About the film

The ‘Construction and the Games’ project was born of discussions between researchers and filmmakers interested in labour issues and construction. The success of the London Olympic bid was a catalyst for the group because such large-scale projects tend to influence standards in the construction industry and even to transform ways of working, as occurred with the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5. We have been following events, recording views of construction workers, small contractors, trade unions, students and teachers on issues like recruitment, skills training, pay and conditions, health and safety and work place relations, and asking the question: how far is the potential being realised? The film provides an invaluable record of the experiences of those who have been involved in the construction of the Games, and what their aspirations are.

Registration and coffee
3.00 – 3.30pm

Seminar: the olympic legacy for labour
3.30 – 5.30pm

  •  Introduction: different experiences Linda Clarke, Westminster Business School
  •  Barcelona 1992: a good Games for construction? Dr Justin Byrne, Madrid
  •  Athens 2004: pre and post-Olympic Legacies: Growth and Debt
  •  Dr Lefteris Kretsos, University of Greenwich
  •  London 2012: transformative for construction employment and VET?
  •  Aletha Holborough, University of Westminster
  •  Discussion and reflections

Short break

Film preview
5.45 – 7.30pm

  •  Introduction Margaret Dickinson, film maker
  •  Film: Construction and the Games (57minutes)
  •  Discussion and reflection

Drinks and chat

For further information contact:
Linda Clarke – E: [email protected] / T: +44 (0)20 3506 6528 or
Colin Gleeson – E: [email protected]

To reserve a place please contact:
Amanda Willmott – E: [email protected] / T: +44 (0)20 3506 7024

Download the brochure