The 2012 Olympics shambles and G4S' failure to deliver its security contract
are not the only reason why G4S should be stopped. Here are a few more reasons:
Profiting from Israeli apartheid:
G4S provides services to the Israeli Prison Service. Prisons in Israel hold Palestinian political prisoners who have been arrested in the Occupied Territories and transferred to Israel in violation of the Geneva Convention. Physical violence and torture of Palestinian prisoners, including child detainees, have been widely documented. G4S also provides security services to Israeli checkpoints and police, and to many private companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Profiting from the death and suffering of migrants:
G4S has been repeatedly accused of abusing migrants in immigration detention centres and during forcible deportations. A record 773 complaints were filed by detainees against G4S in 2010, including 48 claims of assault. In October 2010, Jimmy Mubenga died after three G4S guards used lethal force to 'restrain' him during his forcible deportation to Angola. Though the Crown Prosecution Service has decided that the three guards and G4S will not face manslaughter charges, a parliamentary report found evidence of “inappropriate use of physical restraint, and the possible use of unauthorised and potentially dangerous restraint techniques.” G4S whistleblowers had submitted evidence to the parliamentary select committee that the company managers had been repeatedly warned by staff that lethal force was being used with 'disruptive deportees'. In January 2008, an aboriginal elder from Western Australia was “cooked to death” while being transported in a G4S van with no air conditioning or water. G4S was fined $285,000 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of Mr Ward.
Dismantling public service:
G4S is one of the companies standing to profit from the coalition government's privatisation and dismantling of public services. The company is taking over police forces, prisons, welfare provision, housing, schools, hospitals and so on and so forth. The impact on the quality of these services and accountability to the public is alarming. In Yorkshire and the Humber, where G4S recently took over providing asylum accommodation from local councils, 1,200 asylum seekers are being placed in sub-standard houses or left in limbo because G4S and its subcontractors are reportedly unable to find enough private landlords. A broad and vibrant campaign in the region has been monitoring the contract and documenting its failures.
G4S has repeatedly failed to uphold the minimum standards of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code in its treatment of workers across all its divisions worldwide. Security guards working for G4S in India, Nepal, South Korea and elsewhere are paid poverty wages, forced to work underpaid overtime and have no job security or employment contracts. Even in the UK, benefit claimants put on the Wok Programme were reportedly offered unpaid 'work' by G4S as security for the Olympics.
Similarly, G4S is exploiting prisoners' labour in the six private prisons it runs in the UK. 400 G4S prisoners are made to work 40 hours a week for as little as £2 a day. G4S has even launched a PR campaign entitled "Working Prisons: Working People", with the hope that 'working prisons' will “become the norm” in Britain. One of the “benefits to business” listed by G4S is “a committed workforce and low overheads.”
G4S has gained enormous political and economic power by recruiting ex-police officers, civil servants and politicians, ensuring it has an undue influence on devising government policies and a significant advantage over competitors in bidding and procurement processes.
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