– Labour news from UNI global union – for trade unions in a global services economy. –
Workers from Indonesia, India, Uganda and the United States are today attending the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of UK-based global security firm Group 4 Securicor to demand that the senior management halt the abuse of human rights that is being perpetrated by its subsidiaries around the world.
The workers have been forced to travel to the UK to tackle Group 4 Securicor's global management team as the company's subsidiaries in their own countries are said to be violating local laws and customs by attacking their labour rights.
Former U.S. Congressman David Bonior, a senior Democrat and Chair of American Rights at Work, an NGO that campaigns for workers' rights and corporate social responsibility, will participate in the G4S workers tour and attend the AGM. He said: "Workers all over the world want to form unions to address concerns over safe working conditions and fair compensation," says Bonior. "The actions of G4S violate the spirit of international covenants and these workers deserve better."
Articles 20 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state that "Everyone as the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association…and the right to form and join trade unions." The United States and the United Kingdom signed the Declaration in 1948.
International human rights' abuses include:
* In Indonesia the Supreme Court has ruled that over 200 security workers, sacked by Securicor for going on strike over a year ago, are reinstated and paid back wages for the time that they have been without a living. The workers have attempted to return to work but have been refused entry by the company and are being intimated by police officers and men whom the workers believe to be hired thugs.
* In India workers report that families of guards killed on the job are refused compensation by the company. On one occasion the company allegedly removed the uniform off a dead man so that it could disclaim all responsibility.
* In Uganda Group 4 Securicor's local subsidiary is refusing to join with its competitors in an effort to raise standards in the country's security industry. Despite being advised by the country's Labour Commissioner to recognise the workers' desire to form a union, the company continues to frustrate workers' efforts to organise in the interests of higher standards.
* In the U.S., there are alleged practices such as systematic racial and sex discrimination; unsafe working conditions (including weapons and ammunitions being left unattended); unfair labour practices; inappropriate hiring of convicted felons; and inadequate training.
The company insists that these are local problems to be dealt with by local management but the existence of labour disputes across the world demonstrates a broader trend which can only be dealt with by Group 4 Securicor's board and Chief Executive Nick Buckles.
Group 4 Securicor is in the spotlight of www.focusongroup4securior.com, which is an international trade union campaign to raise standards in the private security industry, following the events of 9/11.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Geneva-based Union Network International (UNI) are spearheading global demands for better training and benefits for private security officers, to create a more secure environment for the people they protect.
Notes for editors
* The 2006 Group 4 Securicor Alternative Annual Report has just been published and highlights 'The High Cost of the Low Road' in terms of human rights' abuses and the company's approach to low pay, lack of adequate training and ineffective control systems. It can be found on www.focusongroup4securicor.com
* The Focus on Group 4 Securicor Campaign is an alliance of organisations led by Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
* The Group 4 Securicor AGM will take place on Thursday 29th June at Ironmongers' Hall, Barbican, London EC2Y 8AA at 2.00 pm.
Contacts: Emma Cerrone on 020 7395 8928 / 07973 600595
Gidon Freeman on 020 7395 8946 / 07905 284 846