Comment | Union must sever G4S ties

G4S is a company that feeds off the misery of the disempowered for the benefit of the strong. One of the biggest private security firms in the world, G4S has grown to be the premier thug-for-hire company both in the UK and internationally.

The British based security company’s list of abuses is not something to be sniffed at, even for a company that specialises in the outsourcing of thuggery. Do we start with the promotion of David Beadnall to Safety, Health and Environmental Manager at G4S Children’s services, after he murdered a 15 year old child; from a company that, according to its website “can always be trusted to do the right thing.” Or perhaps the murder of Jimmy Mubenga, forcibly restrained for 40 minutes on a deportation flight until he asphyxiated, leaving behind five now fatherless children and a widow?

Another job well done. These are not just a few bad eggs either; G4S is employed to man the detention centres used for the deportation of asylum seekers and other immigrants, often away from their families and lives they have built up. The company is providing a cheap and efficient way for the government to enforce its anti-immigration policies. Though of course G4S is hardly going to let this agenda stop them. In fact considering the numerous complaints of racist insults and assault that stem from detention centres owned by them it could be argued that this is exactly the kind of work they do best.

As a huge multinational, the company has been able to export its bad practices globally. Employed by the Israeli government to enforce its system of apartheid, G4S runs prisons and checkpoints as well as being complicit in the transfer of Palestinian prisoners from the occupied territories; a crime that is illegal under international law. Of course, such silly things as the Geneva Convention clearly aren’t going to stop G4S from providing the best service it can. Enforcing a system of apartheid is hard work, but G4S is always the first to come up with an “innovative solution.”

All students should welcome the founding of the STOP G4S group which brings together a diverse range of political and campaigning societies. Part of a growing wave of actions against the company, this type of grassroots activism aims to hold G4S accountable for its crimes and damage it financially; the main weak spot for soulless, profit-driven multinational monstrosities.

They argue that Leeds University Union, who currently employs G4S to handle their cash transactions, should immediately withdraw any contracts with the company. Everyone should support this. None of our Union’s money should be going to a company that has such a blatant disregard for human suffering. Though a small step, cancelling the contract here could encourage others do the same elsewhere, until G4S is no longer able to carry out its role as the premier outsourcing option for violent repression.

David Lewzey

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