Despite its track record of complicity in human rights abuses in the UK and abroad, G4S is being handed control of public services – everything from policing to “asylum markets” to the welfare system. Even after the Olympics débâcle, G4S looks set to take over even more control of our communities.
Campaigns have begun to highlight the appalling record of G4S and to work to prevent it from putting profit before human rights and dignity. From local campaigns to pressure G4S as it cuts corners, to demonstrations targeting the company’s AGM and headquarters, we’re beginning to damage the G4S brand.
Visit website: Stop G4S
The many reasons to Stop G4S:
G4S and Public Contracts:
- G4S has recently been awarded £210million of public money to provide housing services to asylum seekers in Yorkshire, Humberside, Midlands and the North East .
- With profit its only motive in what it calls “asylum markets”, it’s expected that over 1000 asylum seekers will be uprooted from their communities to live in slum housing.
- G4S profits from the privatisation of policing, courts & prisons
- Workfare: G4S profits from forcing the unemployed to do unpaid work or risk having benefits cut.
- G4S won the contract to provide security for the Olympics and failed to deliver on time but still insists on receiving payment.
Human Rights Abuses:
- Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker died, following restraint by G4S employees. The DPP recently ruled that no prosecution was necessary.
- In 2011 G4S Australia admitted liability and was fined for the death of Warburton Elder Mr Ward.
- It profits from imprisoning refugees while it abuses families and children in their ‘care’.
G4S and Israel’s occupation of Palestine:
- G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli prisons in which Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners, are illegally held and tortured.
- G4S supplies equipment and services to Israel’s illegal settlements and wall
- Palestinian civil society has called for action to hold G4S to account for its role in profiting from the detention of Palestinian political prisoners, 1,600 of whom recently held a mass hunger strike.
Selection of actions taken so far:
- Local campaigns in cities and campuses across the UK
- G4S headquarters rooftop occupation.
- Demonstrations in Birmingham, Sheffield, London and beyond
- Successfully pressuring companies to drop their ties with G4S
- Publishing detailed analysis online (see http://bit.ly/R9JbkB, http://bit.ly/PRhYMi,http://bit.ly/Kz0Uhn)
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An Eye Witness report from the G4S AGM- June 2014
The AGM was extraordinary. The room was full, which is not what I expected as few people normally come to AGM’s. The majority of the shareholders are usually institutions who do not bother to turn up, although there was one institutional shareholder from a local authority (Enfield) pension fund. I looked around the room and noted a number of familiar faces, whom I guessed might interrupt. The CEO was droning on when suddenly the first of the protesters stood up and shouted something. Instead of going to talk to the protester, the ‘security’ detail immediately manhandled the person out. This continued with the goons dragging people out even though they shouted that they were being hurt. The situation was so bad that Shamiul Joarder from Friends of Al Aqsa stood up to say he was appalled and reminding the board that the small NGO he represented had processes by which they dealt with objectors, namely talking to them quietly and giving a warning instead of peremptorily dragging them away. This had the effect of shaming the board and the Chairman asked that people be treated better. Almanza stated that protesters were approached before being removed, but this was not true. The film, taken surreptiously gives graphic indication of the aggressive behaviour of the stewards.
The change after Shamiul’s intervention was instructive. The protester next to me was quietly spoken to when she erupted and she stayed inside to ask her questions. When the time came for questions it was obvious that almost everyone in the room had a beef with the company. The questions ranged from Palestine, prisoners, child prisoners, violations of Geneva Conventions to issues around deaths in custody and in prisons, issues to do with investment by local authority pensions departments, Oakwood prison, Jimmy Mubenga and racism in their estate, reputation in Australia after Manus island, living wage. As I had predicted the Palestine contingent were most in evidence. And the Palestine questions were most prominent.
There is one concession made by Almanza. He said that they did not plan to renew their contracts with the Israeli prison service once their term expired. This is a new concession and one that needs further scrutiny, as it is a great coup, if truly confirmed. They used to say that they would exit their contracts in the occupied territories but now they are including their contracts with the Israeli prison service. However we need to wait to see whether this really materialises and what the time frame is. The campaigners know that it is consistent pressure that has achieved this concession. But we are not fooled. The pressure will continue until the promises are fulfilled.
One of the last shareholders to comment (clearly someone unaware of the nature of AGMs) said that he had come to talk about the share price and directors’ remuneration and instead was faced with a wall of protest. These people, he said, should have a special meeting for themselves. But of course the whole point about an AGM is that it is the only opportunity any of us have of holding the company to account and a company as toxic as G4S demands to be held to account. At the end of the meeting Hugh Lanning from Palestine Solidarity Campaign handed in a petition of over 3000 signatures demanding an end to complicity in the occupation of Palestine.
Afterwards I heard about AGM’s of more ‘cuddly’ companies like Sainsbury’s where the treatment by the floor of objectors is much more critical, but yesterday it was clear that the objectors dominated the board and so it should be with a board like that of G4, the privatisers of violence. The behaviour of the ‘security’ goons exposed the culture of the company as effectively as anything that they said. If this is how they behave under public scrutiny, one can only imagine what they get up to in private.