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April 4, 2008
By: Anon

GES: A call for clarity

Regarding the GES aquires Melville story and chief executive interview, while Kevin Rabbitt repeatedly emphasises his committment to "core values", also referring to the (yet to be seen to be factual rather than on the wish list) benefits that can be gained from GES’s North American experience, there are some serious questions that still need to be asked.

As a company, we have worked in 22 countries over the past five years, and in our experience the one country we find most difficulty in ensuring that labour of any description on the floor – including mandatory contractors such as electricians – do the job anywhere near on time and to (pre-paid) rates, is North America. Not only are the operatives often less able than in the UK and other European countries, but their pace of work can be extremely slow, even without the usual union enforced breaks, etc.

As a freebuild design and contracting company servicing many international B2B clients across a broad range of industry sectors at events worldwide, including major exhibitions in the US, I have strong misgivings with regard to the following areas:

1) On home soil, USA protectionism is blatantly rampant throughout the industry in the activity areas of drayage, labour, mandatory site contractors and union matters – and we have had bitter, first-hand experience of this within the past 18 months. How exactly is this part of the North American experience going to benefit UK and international clients – event organisers and independent contractors?

2) How are pricing structures going to appear in the future, both near and far?

3) Will US union-based labour practices creep into the GES offshore activity portfolio, including into the UK?

I firmly believe that if these issues are not addressed to the UK industry’s satisfaction, GES, through Melville, may well encounter some serious problems from several sectors of the industry.

Pat McLaughlin
Insideout Events

To view Kevin Rabbitt's interview, click here

We have contacted Kevin Rabbitt for a response to these concerns. In the meantime, if you would like to express your views on this please email us.

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