G4S and London 2012: MSN readers' stories

MSN readers share their experiences of attempting to get work with G4S during the 2012 Games.

G4S Security guards outside the USA training base at Alexandra Stadium, BirminghamDavid Davies, PA Wire

Confusion over where to collect uniforms; birth certificates getting lost in the post; and people spending hundreds of pounds in travel costs to train for an event they weren't invited to attend.

These were some of the stories we received when we invited readers to send us their experiences of trying to get a job with the security company G4S during London 2012.

We heard from someone who was unemployed for almost a year, was overjoyed to pass an interview with G4S, then waited months to hear further details, only to find out there were no training days left and hence could not gain work at the Games.

Another told us they pulled out of the Games after discovering they would have to pay for transport and accommodation, which contradicted what they had read a job advertisement placed in a local job centre.

G4S has come in for sustained criticism over the past week for admitting it could not provide enough staff to work at the 2012 Games.

When we put our readers' stories to G4S for a response, a spokesman told us:

"While we aren't able comment on individual cases, we are sorry that potential employees have experienced difficulties through the recruitment process.

"What we can say is the large increase in numbers of staff requested by Locog - up from an original 2,000 in December 2010 to more than five times this number, six months ago - has been extremely challenging, and we have encountered some delays in progressing applicants through the final stages. We have been devoting more resources and working flat out to process these as swiftly as possible, and we are now in the position where we have over 4,000 people deployed now at 100 venues, and more than 9,000 going through the final stages of training, vetting and accreditation."

Below, you can read some the accounts we have been sent by readers.


"I passed the G4S interview some months ago but still haven't heard anything back. Both my parents and I have rung the customer service number at least twice a week, sometimes hanging on for a good hour before getting through. Last week I was told to collect my uniform and accreditation and requested them to email me with the details of where to go in London. This did not happen."
- Ria Andrews

"She's all ready to start working - if only someone would just call her."

"My daughter has passed all her tests and training also spent £230 or so on her SIA (Security Industry Authority) licence, plus cost of travelling to and fro to the training centre miles away. Last week she was told she will be working as of this Monday, and they would be in touch to tell her where to get her accreditation and uniform. She already has her payroll number, but we still have no news. All the emails we send don't get replies. She's even been told she needs to go to training. She's all ready to start working - if only someone would just call her."
- Steven Saunders

"I went for the interview with G4S around in April at Hampden Park. I did training for my SIA, a week of training at Livingston football ground, and filled in all the relevant documents. But then I got a phone call to say they'd only got half of my birth certificate. And then I had a call saying they can't get a hold of my references. Then I had to go back to Livingston for more training. They say staff are not turning up for work, but I'm still in the dark as to whether or not I've got the job. I have yet to meet any member of the G4S staff."
- Kenneth Ogilvie

"I applied and was called for interview with G4S to undertake a security role, for which I passed all the interview process but then failed to hear anything until I wrote to the chief executive. In the end I didn't get through the selection process, despite passing the interview, but I had to keep chasing the company to find out if I had been employed or not."
- Pam Tuthill

"I've been unemployed since September 2011 when I lost my job in the recession, and I was really keen to get this job."

"I applied in 2011, passed all the sections and was initially offered the post of radiologist. But this was the last I heard for months. Then I was phoned out of the blue by the accreditation department in late May/early June and asked more or less all the same stuff again. Near the end of June two different people rang me on the same day hurriedly checking references. Since then the status of my application on the G4S site hasn't changed. I've been unemployed since September 2011 following losing my job to the recession, and I was really keen to get this job. I even dressed smart in a suit unlike many others that attended in trainers and scruffy clothes."
- Neil Hughes

"I've been given a contract and even a payroll number, but for the last three weeks have been trying to contact G4S to find out when my training will start. Then this week I rang again, to be told that no further training will be given. I take it that that is it! Despite me paying £25 to attend the interview and then waiting three months!
- Steve Sanders

"After my interview I was told that I would be contacted about my training dates. I heard nothing for three months, then was bombarded with training dates which I completed, and now have been sent additional training dates which would be done during the Olympic Games. Stupidity! I've also given G4S my driving licence in agreement for it to be used as identification for sending of my SIA licence. I've now been without both for about four months."
- Anonymous

"I attended an interview with G4S back in March. I have done securty for the last 10 years and was also a member of the forces for years. I was informed eight weeks ago that I had passed all screening and vetting and someone from payroll would be in touch. It didn't happen. After several attempts at trying to contact G4S through their call centre, I have now given up. Undermanned? Try employing some of the people that you interviewed, G4S."
- Anonymous

"I worked out that for the two weeks of the Olympics, I wouldn't make any money. I would end up in debt."

"I was a successful applicant, but was told I would have to pay for my transport and accommodation. However when the job was advertised on the G4S website, as well as the Job Centre, it stated that the accommodation and transport was being paid for by G4S. I obviously then looked into how much it would cost. It worked out that for the two weeks of the Olympics I wouldn't make any money. I would be in debt. And this was only for Cardiff, not London."
- Thomas Honer

"My son is at university. He completed his training for G4S and has the certificates to prove it, but has heard nothing. He told them he was available from 1 July and he hasn't looked for other work, which he needs to help fund university. We are all gutted at the shambles that is G4S."
- Karen Bullock

"My nephew was interviewed by G4S and offered a security position. He had to make his own travel arrangements and self-fund two visits from Birmingham to London for interviews. G4S advised him that he would be contacted with a start date and that assistance would be provided to help find accomodation. He has waited week by week for the phone to ring or a letter to arrive informing him of such arrangements. G4S have never acknowledged him since his second meeting with them. They should be ashamed of themselves for blaming the applicants and accusing them of backing out."
- Jeanette W