Posted by: olymponomics | February 29, 2012

Strike risk and the Olympics

The immovable deadline of mega-events such as the Olympics makes them vulnerable to threats of disruption from organized interests — whether this is the last minute addition of expenses by contractors or proposed strike action by workforces (e.g. construction workers, transport staff, police). This is not a new problem for Olympic planners (as covered on pp. 229-230 of my forthcoming book, Olympic Risks): preparations for the Montreal 1976 Olympics were held up by a long-running dispute between government and unions, losing a substantial number of days to strike. With the construction programme for London 2012 largely completed, the threat of strike action for London 2012 is focused on essential public services (public transport in particular). Strike action and construction difficulties with the Jubilee Line Extension led to its completion just days before opening of the Millennium Dome on December 31, 1999, demonstrating the extreme time dependence of mega-events. In the case of the Jubilee Line Extension, there were ‘time and cost consequences’ because of its attachment to the Dome. With the deadline for London 2012 nearing, such pressure on costs is to be expected.

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