Ed Miliband in no-strike Olympic Games appeal


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Indy Politics

Ed Miliband called today for industrial action to be avoided during the Olympic Games after London bus drivers were balloted over a potential strike in a row over pay.

The Labour leader said public sector workers in the capital may face "extra strain" while the Games take place but stressed there should not be disruption through strike action.

The Unite trade union, which represents 21,000 bus workers in the capital, is balloting its members after calling for a £500 payment for workers to compensate for their extra workload during the Games.

During a visit to the Olympic Park with members of the shadow cabinet, Mr Miliband said: "I don't want to see industrial action during the Olympics.

"The Olympics are a great thing for London and a great thing for Britain. We have the chance to inspire young people into sport.

"There may be extra strain on public sector workers. What's really important is that there isn't industrial action."

The shadow cabinet gathered for a meeting at the new Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park and were joined by Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog).

Mr Miliband said: "This is an incredibly inspiring and moving thing for us.

"What this looked like six or seven years ago, to now see this amazing Aquatics Centre, and the great joy on the faces of the pupils here, is incredibly inspiring and moving.

"I think everyone is excited with the Games. The whole country is behind it and you can see that with the Olympic torch relay."

Mr Miliband said building affordable housing after the Olympics would be a "lasting benefit" to the community.

He added: "The legacy is to ensure low-cost housing is built and venues are open to the community.

"There is a 20-year project to build affordable housing which is one of the last legacies of the Games."

Mr Miliband, shadow chancellor Ed Balls, Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman and shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell were greeted at the Aquatics Centre by pupils from Langdon School, in East Ham, east London.

Members of the shadow cabinet gathered to pose for photographs in front of the Olympic Stadium ahead of their meeting.

Mr Miliband later joined pupils for a glimpse inside the Aquatics Centre with Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales.