October 2013 | via Global BDS Movement and Electronic Intifada
Trade union action across the UK and Europe has seen a major backlash against international security company, G4S, a company that provides private security services to Israeli prisons and the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
NORWAY: Norwegian union ends G4S contract as an “act of solidarity”
A major Norwegian trade union has terminated its contract with security company G4S in protest of the firm’s role in providing equipment and services to Israeli prisons and settlements. Industri Energi, a trade union for workers in the energy and heavy industry sectors, had been using the company to provide security at its offices in Stavanger in the south of Norway. Announcing that the contract will now be terminated, union leader Leif Sande told Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen that the move was taken as “an act of solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people.”
UK: In the UK, the East London Teachers Association (ELTA) passed a motion condemning G4S’s complicity in Israel’s prison system and calling on a local authority to terminate its contracts with the company. G4S has a 22-year contract to provide “a comprehensive integrated facilities management solution” to 25 London schools. The ELTA motion described G4S’s behaviour as “profoundly unethical”, stating: “This association feels that it is completely inappropriate for a company which is complicit in unlawful detention and torture to provide services in Tower Hamlets schools.”
SOUTH AFRICA: COSATU condemns G4S role in Palestine in statement on South African prison privatization.
The COSATU statement has said: “The Congress of South African Trade Unions is completely appalled to hear that the private security company, G4S, that is running the Mangaung Correctional Centre in the Free State, has mercilessly fired more than 300 Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) members for staging a strike… It is worrying that G4S, a British-Danish private security company that provides services and equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints, the Apartheid Wall and the Israeli police has now been courted by our government to milk tax payer’s money in order to finance its controversial operations in the apartheid state of Israel.”
UK: UNISON head calls on G4S to end Israel contracts
One of the UK’s biggest unions called for controversial security firm G4S to pull out of Israel. The British-Danish security giant has been a major target for activists because of its involvement with several Israeli prisons. Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, wrote to G4S arguing: “I understand that your activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories only account for approximately one percent of G4S profits. However, I believe that the reputational risks that these activities pose for your company are far greater [than profit] and I would urge you withdraw now from doing business in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
AUSTRALIA: G4S also provides security services in Australia – see Antony Loewenstein’s reporting on G4S activities in Australia.
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