– Metro, TransLink won’t lend staff to Olympics

ED. Just when you think that slavery ended, olympics organizers call for companies to “lend” their employees to work at 2010 events.  What happens to employees who refuse to help?

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By Jeff Nagel – BC Local News

Metro Vancouver officials have no plans to bail out Vanoc and send regional district staff to work at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

A feared labour shortage during the Games has Olympic organizers scrambling to recruit a total of 55,000 workers and volunteers.

Vanoc CEO John Furlong last month asked civic leaders at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to lend employees to help the cause.

But the request has garnered little response so far.

“Metro Vancouver has not approved secondments of any staff to Vanoc for the Winter Olympics,” Metro spokesman Glenn Bohn said.

“At this time, managers don’t plan to authorize any secondments for the Olympics.”

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said her city doesn’t intend to lend any staff to the Olympics either.

TransLink was also asked to lend staff but has declined.

Spokesperson Judy Rudin said TransLink is already “doing our share” through its major effort to ensure public transit runs smoothly during the Games and needs all hands on deck as a result.

Two major corporations – Accenture and Pharmasave – are the latest to step up to provide employees to Vanoc.

A variety of other partners, including Deloitte, the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, have also pledged at least 45 seconded staff.

“The use of seconded employees will ease some of the pressure on our budget as we navigate this extraordinary downturn in the economy,” Furlong said.

Vanoc expects up to 200 provincial government employees to take up duties with the Games.

In all, organizers hope to borrow up to 1,500 short-term workers from private firms or branches of government.

There are plenty of spots still to be filled. Positions are open in 32 of Vanoc’s 53 departments.

Furlong said the experience can be good for the employees and employers – not just Vanoc.

“This employee loan program initiative creates an environment for unique team-building opportunities full of rewarding and beneficial experiences for our business partners and their talented employees.”

Companies can become “Friends of the Games” by loaning 10 to 50 workers for at least eight weeks. That staff unit gets the chance to showcase teamwork skills by running a complete project or function, such as a parking area, venue function or transport staging site.

In return, the firm gets event tickets and the ability to designate torch bearers.

Olympic recruiters have turned to other provinces to try to hire enough workers to fill positions at the Games, particularly for private security.

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