G4S V Union Network International (UNI)

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 01/12/2006
Date Closed 12/12/2008
Case Duration 106 weeks and 0 days
Host Countries Democratic Republic of Congo  (Non-adhering country)
Germany  (OECD member)
Greece  (OECD member)
Israel  (OECD member)
Malawi  (Non-adhering country)
Mozambique  (Non-adhering country)
Nepal  (Non-adhering country)
Panama  (Non-adhering country)
Uganda  (Non-adhering country)
US  (OECD member)

Sector Security 
Issue(s) Unpaid wages; working conditions; right to be represented by a trade union
Provisions Cited II.1  IV.1-a   
Case Description Union Network International (UNI) submitted a case to the UK NCP concerning the activities of Group 4 Securicor (G4S) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Greece, Israel, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Uganda and the US. The NCPs in Greece, Israel and the US were also informed. UNI suggested that they case be hadnle by the home country NCP - the UK.

The UNI submission alleged that G4S was attempting to prevent workers from organising and furthermore that G4S has refused to pay workers the legally established minimum wage. In Israel, in June 2006, the Israeli Labour Ministry terminated its contract with the G4S subsidiary because of repeated violations of labour law. The trade unions report that the Labour Ministry had considered evoking the company’s license to operate.

Developments In January 2007, after meeting with the NCP, UNI provided further information on breaches of the Guidelines by G4S in Germany, Panama and Uruguay. Meanwhile, the problem in Uganda was resolved as the company agreed to recognise the union.

In February 2007, TUAC participated in a meeting organised by UNI to discuss G4S with its affiliates. Workers from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and North America testified to the anti-union behaviour of G4S. In Panama, workers had even been threatened at gunpoint. The NCP was invited to attend a meeting to discuss these issues with the workers directly concerned, but declined.

In October 2007, the case was postponed to allow the parties to reach a solution. However, as the negotiations failed to resolve all the issues, the NCP resumed its examination of parts of the case in January 2008. The UK NCP accepted the case for initial assessment in relation to the allegtions made in the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, An external mediator was appointed during the Spring.

Outcome On the 11th December 2008, the UK NCP announced that the UNI/G4S case had been successfully resolved after the UK NCP appointed an external mediator to manage a formal mediation and conciliation process. The arbitrator brought the parties together in a series of meetings, which resulted in a voluntary settlement.

On the 16th December, 2008 UNI and G4s signed a Global Framework Agreement. The agreement included commitments to conduct union elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mozambique to clarify issues regarding statutory workers' rights. In Malawi it was agreed that overtime payment should increase from 50% to at least 100% of normal wages.

Organisations

Lead NCP UK NCP : Bi-ministerial plus Multi-stakeholder Independent Board 
Supporting NCP US NCP : Single Department with Interagency Working Group 
Supporting NCP Greece NCP : Single Government Department 
Supporting NCP Israel NCP : Single Government Department 

Companies

Multinational Company G4S (Home country: UK)

Complainants

Lead Complainant UNI Global Union : Global Union Federation 

Related Documents

Trades Union Congress  [Publication date: 16/9/2009] 'Human rights at work and British business' by Owen Tudor
   http://www.touchstoneblog.org.uk/2009/12/human-rights-at-work-and-british-busin
   ess/
[Date URL accessed: 17/12/2009]

UK NCP  [Publication date: 12/12/2008] 'G4S AND UNION NETWORK INTERNATIONAL'
   http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file49308.doc [Date URL accessed: 17/4/2010]

TUAC Analysis

Did the NCP publish its initial assessment? status-icon
Did the case involve parallel proceedings? status-icon
Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary? status-icon
Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case? status-icon
Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation held? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator? status-icon
Did the parties reach agreement? status-icon
If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties? status-icon
If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding? status-icon
Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP publish its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case? status-icon
Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance? status-icon
Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case? status-icon
Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved? status-icon
Did the lead NCP play a positive role? status-icon
If different, did the home NCP play a positive role? status-icon

TUAC Assessment

The use of an external mediator by the UK NCP was highly effective. UNI noted that a further key factor in delivering success was the requirement by the NCP that the mediator had the authority to recommend a settlement that the parties should consider ‘sympathetically’. UNI considered this commitment to be an important part of the process.

The UK NCP considers that this case sends a strong message to companies that the UK NCP will "provide a high quality mediation service with the aim of assisting companies to come to their own settlement".

Implications

This is a landmark case as it was the first time that the UK NCP used a professional mediator.