G4S is the UK's biggest private security company, with its government contracts alone worth over £600 million. Responsible for security services, managing detention centres, prisons, and 675 court and police station holding cells, G4S have also just been granted the £100 million contract for providing 10,000 security guards for the upcoming olympics.

Whilst G4S still seem to be government favourites, their record is far from spotless. The firm lost their previous 'forcible deportation' contract last September after receiving 773 complaints of abuse – both verbal and physical. The final straw came with the death of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010, an Angolan asylum seeker who died as a result of his forced deportation by G4S guards. Two of the guards are on bail facing criminal charges, whilst G4S is still waiting to hear whether they are to face corporate manslaughter charges.

Now, asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside are expected to accept this multi-national, money-hungry, security company as their landlords.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

G4S: Voted 3rd Worst Company in the World

G4S Demonstration 2012 (source: demotix.com)

We apologise if you've been bombarded with messages about the Public Eye Awards, but you'll be glad to know that G4S have been voted the third worst company in the world! Even though we would have loved to see G4S topping the list, were pretty happy with G4S being given the bronze award considering the stiff competition from Goldman Sachs and Shell. 

If you voted for G4S, you'll be pretty well-versed in the reasons for naming and shaming this toxic company. From securing the apartheid wall in Palestine to exploiting the UK "asylum market", G4S are playing a pivotal role in the securitisation and criminalisation of communities across the globe. Unsurprisingly, G4S were not too keen to hear of their nomination, and the company sent a 150 word letter to the Business and Human Rights Resource centre contesting the grounds of their nomination. Here's an excerpt from their defence: 
The basis on which G4S has been nominated is inaccurate and very
misleading. Much of the information published as criteria for the
nomination is completely false, for example: it is not true that G4S staff
are “often badly trained and paid” or that “many have a criminal
record”. G4S staff do not “man checkpoints” or “manage prison
security” in Israel. Where the company does operate in complex
environments such as Iraq or Afghanistan, it often does so in support of
humanitarian programmes or on behalf of western governments helping
to resolve conflict or to provide a long term stable regime for the people
of the country.  
There's no need to repeat the brilliant responses articulated by John Grayson and Adri Nieuwhof in their recent Open Democracy piece, but put simply, G4S' pithy 150 word complaint is hardly demonstrative of a company that values their public image. Whilst their bronze prize from the Public Eye Awards is a brilliant step towards exposing the activities of this multi-national company, it is not going to be enough to change current practice. Campaigners and activists across the globe will continue to highlight G4S' complicity in human rights abuses; we said no to G4S, and we still mean it.

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