Memorandum submitted by G4S
G4S is pleased to respond to the Joint Committee
on Human Rights' invitation to businesses who have engaged directly
with human rights issues to comment on their impact on the private
G4S was formed in 2004 after the merger
of Group 4 and Securicortwo of the dominant and well-regarded
players in the traditional security industry. Since then, G4S
has grown to become the leading international security solutions
group and second largest multinational employer in the world,
with almost 600,000 employees helping businesses and governments
in around 115 countries "secure their world".
G4S specialises in assessing current and future
risks and developing secure solutions to minimise their impact.
Its employees protect the safety and security of their customers,
colleagues and the general public, often playing critical roles
in society, for example:
Protecting national infrastructure, including
prisons, airports and cash circulation.
Providing overseas government logistics
and close-protection in hostile environments.
Contributing expertise in fields ranging
from event security to youth justice.
G4S recognises its ethical responsibility towards
its employees, customers, investors, local communities and other
stakeholders. As a major global organisation the group plays a
significant role in the lives of thousands of peopleboth
directly through employment and our relationships with customer
and suppliers, and indirectly through our involvement in the communities
in which our employees live and work. In fact, at the heart of
our business strategy is the safety and security of our customers,
their assets and the general public, so in our everyday business
we are constantly contributing to a safer society.
We have an extensive business ethics policy
which provides the backbone to our culture and practice in this
area, describing the group's core standards in relation to different
audiences. The policy is reviewed regularly to ensure it continues
to reflect our business model and areas of operation. To demonstrate
its importance within G4S, each year the CEO asks all senior managers
and executives around the group to reaffirm their personal commitment
to this key policy. All new managers also receive the business
ethics policy and are made aware of its importance to the group,
signing up to its principles on an annual basis.
The foundation of our code for good corporate
citizenship lies with our employeeswe are well aware that
the organisation's future success is being driven by the performance
of our employees, and for this reason we pay particular attention
to their rights and our responsibilities to them.
In our Business Ethics Policy we recognise the
need to optimise individual and business performance through employing
the best people at all levels and creating an environment in which
they want to and are able to contribute fully to the Group's success.
This principle is further substantiated by specific commitments
to comply with employers' obligations under labour and social
security laws and support the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work.
Building on these core commitments, the group
has also established a range of internal standards which set out
the good employment practice which all G4S businesses are expected
to follow to enable us to acquire, engage and develop our employees
for our mutual benefit.
Our specific commitments and policies in a number
of areas where human rights impact on our employees and the business
are set out below.
Freedom of association & the right to collective
Our relations with our employees and their representatives
are extremely important to us and we are fundamentally committed
to constructive social dialogue, believing that long-term partnerships
with employees and their representatives, including trade unions,
can help us raise standards wherever we operate.
In 2008 we agreed and Ethical Employment
Partnership with UNI, the global union federation, which will
drive improvements in employment standards across the global security
industry. The agreement sets out particular terms which help provide
practical support to facilitate freedom of association and offers
specific commitments on recognition of legitimate and representative
unions. As the first UK business to enter into such an agreement,
we are proud to be setting a new global benchmark for good labour
In addition to this ground-breaking agreement,
our principled support for genuine, active social dialogue is
backed up in practice, and thus:
We have over 200 formal union recognition
agreements around the world and 1 in four of our employees
are union members
More than a quarter of our global workforce
is covered by the terms of a union collective agreement, rising
to over 80% in Europe
We have constructive relationships around
the world, many going back decadesfor example, in the UK
our relationship with the GMB, one of the UK's largest unions,
has continued for more than 40 years
Equal opportunities & diversity
Our employees deliver the service that our customers
rely on to keep them and their assets safe and secure. Our success
will depend on our ability to attract and retain talented people
so that we have the resources to support the challenges of our
diverse customers and our continued business growth, and we therefore
strive for diversity in our workforce to draw on all available
talents. We value all our employees for their contribution to
our business and their opportunities for advancement are equal
and not influenced by considerations other than their performance,
ability and aptitude.
The size and shape of G4S is constantly changing
as the business continues to grow, entering new countries and
developing new service lines. Five years ago we employed 365,000 peoplenow
we have more than 585,000 employees in more than 110 countries.
One in three of our employees work in North Africa and the Middle
East, one in six in Africa and one in eleven in Latin America.
Our employees speak over 50 different national languages.
Diversity is therefore already a source of strength for the group
and one that gives us a key competitive advantage. With such a
diverse workforce, we are better placed to understand the needs
of our customers and identify opportunities for innovation and
Going forward, we are building an inclusive
working environment in which the best people can thrive and reach
their full potential regardless of race, sex, religion or beliefs,
disability, marital or civil partnership status, age, sexual orientation,
gender identity or expression. Our policies and practices are
created to ensure that local legislation is adhered to and, in
the event that none exists, provide minimum standards to which
all businesses must comply.
However, there are many examples of G4S businesses
going well beyond these core requirements, for example, in South
Africa, where legislation promotes diversity and inclusion though
skills development and employment equity, we demonstrate and measure
our commitment to Black Economic Empowerment Codes in a number
of ways. For example, at Mangaung Correctional Centre, the percentage
procurement spend on black enterprises, the investment in skills
development and the levels of black management control are all
monitored closely to help ensure the workforce is truly representative
of the local community and small businesses are well supported.
The commitment of the management team to diversity and to developing
an inclusive culture at Mangaung has paid off in a number of ways.
83% of all employees are black and 80% of all promotions are filled
by internal candidates
Health & safety
G4S places the highest priority on promoting
the health and safety of employees, always considering our employees'
physical and mental wellbeing, especially in harsh or hostile
We are in the business of managing risk, whether
that is people, property or possessions. The business is challenging
and, in some parts of the world, dangerous. We work in hostile
environments, clearing mines, providing armed escorts for convoys
and dealing with the fallout from terrorist attacks. In the cash
solutions markets we are often a target for attack ourselves.
We fully recognise the dangers these challenges present and work
extremely hard to ensure that our employees have appropriate training,
equipment and back up support to enable them to remove or significantly
reduce the risks they encounter at work. We also continue to work
with the police authorities, trade unions and other security companies
to bring those who have caused injury or harm to our people to
justice and to do all we can to protect our people whilst carrying
out their work.
As evidence of our track record in this area,
last year six G4S UK businesses were presented with the ultimate
award for their impeccable health and safety standards. Two prison
facilities (HMP Wolds & HMP Altcourse), Court Services, GCHQ,
Manchester Magistrates Court and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre were
recognised with Swords of Honour from the British Safety Council.
This means these businesses are among the top 40 performing
companies in the world to have achieved this accolade in 2008.
As a good employer, the welfare of employees
is of paramount importance to G4S and we aim to ensure that employees
are supported through difficult times. To help provide this support,
the G4S Employees' Trust, is able to provide financial assistance,
at the discretion of the fund's trustees, to employees and former
employees in need of urgent financial assistance.
In Indonesia, the fund paid to re-build
homes of a number of employees which were demolished by an earthquake.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo,
after an employee was killed during a riot, the fund helped to
support his family by paying them two years' salary.
In the UK, following a serious injury
to an employee during service, the fund provided him with financial
assistance to cover his recuperation and recovery.
In Canada, the fund has granted a sum
of money to support an employee who is sole carer for a family
member with a terminal illness.
As a result of post-election violence
in Kenya, over 60 employees were left without homes. G4S
provided a programme of support and assistance to those involved
including counselling those suffering from post-traumatic stress
and financial assistance to those rebuilding their homes.
During 2008, the Employees' Trust Fund made
grants totalling over £250,000 to over 130 employees
who had suffered particular financial hardship, 80% of these employees
were based in our new markets businesses.