Norwegian wealth fund blacklists G4S shares over human rights concerns
G4S is in charge of running our prisons in the UK. They also work within the UK Police Forces and are employed by the British government in various positions
Sovereign wealth fund cites risk of company contributing to ill-treatment of migrant labour in Qatar and UAE
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has blacklisted shares in British security company G4S because of the risk of human rights violations against its workforce in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Norway’s Council of Ethics, which monitors investments in the country’s £860bn Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), said there was an “unacceptable risk of the company contributing to systematic human rights violations”. Up to 30,000 staff, mostly working in security and construction, could be affected.
‘Historic breakthrough’: Norway’s giant oil fund dives into renewables
The council said it had not officially considered whether G4S had used forced labour – a form of modern slavery – but it said “the company’s practice – in the worse cases – could place workers under constraint”.
At the end of 2018, the GPFG owned 2.33% of G4S’s shares, worth around £66m, but has since sold most of them.
G4S, which is listed on the FTSE 250, provides security services in more than 90 countries. The Council of Ethics focused on its “extensive use” of migrant workers from India, Pakistan and Nepal for contracts across the Middle East.
The company is one of the world’s largest private employers, with 570,000 staff in 90 countries. It earns about a fifth of its revenues from governments.
The council said G4S was aware of the issues but had not done enough to stop alleged abuses. It said many of G4S’s 18,000 migrant workers in Qatar and the Emirates could be affected, as well as another 11,100 people employed in Saudi Arabia, which has a similarly restrictive labour practices.
The wealth fund said many workers had their passports taken from them and were paid less than agreed. Interviews with G4S workers found that some had to take out loans in order to pay fees of as much as $1,800 (£1,400) to get their jobs, and were then paid salaries between $130 and $170 a month. They were often unable to quit as a result of “debt bondage”.
The council said its investigations showed “that workers have paid recruitment fees to work for the company, and that workers have taken out loans in their home country to be able to pay the fees. When the workers arrive in the Gulf, they must spend a significant part of their salary to pay off this debt, and therefore have little chance of leaving.
“Many also received far lower wages than agreed, and in the Emirates, the workers got their passport confiscated.”
The investigation also revealed long working days, a lack of overtime payment and harassment, including threats to sack workers, dock their wages or deport them.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund blocks investment in more than 150 global companies, mainly on environmental or other ethical concerns. Other companies blacklisted include those involved in nuclear weapons manufacture, such as BAE Systemsand tobacco companies like Altria and British American Tobacco.
Only 12 other companies are banned on human rights concerns, and none of them are listed on either US or westernEuropean stock markets. The other 12 include a number of Far East shipping lines, a Taiwanese shipbreaker, and a Polish property developer.
Vaidehee Sachdev, a senior research manager at ShareAction, said: “This is an unprecedented move by one of the world’s largest pension funds. More than just a slap on the wrist, this signals to G4S and the wider market that the absolute protection of workers’ rights is non-negotiable.
“The question now is what are our pension funds and asset managers in the UK going to do? They should have this as a top priority in their engagements with G4S management.”
Invesco, a US investor with significant London operations, is the largest shareholder in G4S, followed by US firm Harris Associates and London-based fund managers Mondrian and Schroders.
G4S said in a statement it agreed that migrant workers deserved to be treated with dignity and respect, and said it had hired a migrant worker coordinator to address the issues raised by the council.
A spokeswoman said: “We carried out a robust investigation into the issues raised by the Council on Ethics into G4S’s employment practices in Qatar and the UAE. We are making good progress on our action plan to reinforce our high standards in relation to employee recruitment and welfare provisions in the Middle East.”
With many thanks to: The Guardian and Jasper Jolly for the original story
Follow these links to find out more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/G4S
RHI: ‘Eyebrows raised’ over inquiry solicitor’s advisory role at Department for Economy
Patrick Butler, described as the “beating heart” of the inquiry, took up the position in the Department for the Economy (DfE) in the summer.
The journalist says that although the move was entirely within the rules it caused debate in Stormont.
“In summer 2019, as the inquiry was finalising its report and preparing right of reply letters to those it would criticise, Butler took up a high-level post advising the department most centrally involved in RHI – the Department for the Economy (DfE),” McBride writes.
“For half of the week he was working in the inquiry and for the remainder he was in Stormont, acting as a senior legal adviser to DfE.” The solicitor’s new role was “on a temporary and part-time basis” and was “completely separate from RHI and energy-related matters”.
However, McBride writes: “But even without being involved in anything RHI-related, the idea that a critical figure in the multi-million-pound inquiry investigating a departmental disaster would move to work for that department before the inquiry had even finished was problematic, at least in public relations terms. One civil servant said, ‘In terms of how it’s perceived, it doesn’t look good. There’s a lot of talk about it within the civil service’.”
McBride says that Mr Butler’s move was not announced by the RHI inquiry but was confirmed by it in response to questions after a source contacted him.
“As with several members of the inquiry’s staff, Butler was a civil servant – working as a lawyer in the Departmental Solicitor’s Office (DSO) – who had been seconded to the inquiry for its duration,” he writes.
“The inquiry said that Butler had been a staff member of the DSO throughout, in the same manner as with the public inquiry into historical institutional abuse, and ‘the inquiry chairman and the departmental solicitor were aware of this from the outset and were satisfied that robust measures were put in place to address any possible concerns about an actual, or perceived, conflict of interest. Ethical walls have been put in place to avoid any such conflict. Patrick Butler has not worked on any RHI-related work in his new role with the DSO’.”
The journalist writes: “The Department of Finance, within which the DSO sits, said that Butler had been appointed ‘on a temporary and part-time basis, to a legal advisory post which deals with DfE’ but that the role was ‘completely separate from RHI and energy-related matters’.”
The Department of Finance, which deals with the appointment of departmental solicitors, last night said: “Patrick Butler is in a legal advisory post which deals with Department for the Economy on a part-time basis.
“This post is advising on a range of DfE areas which are completely separate from RHI and energy related matters. The Departmental Solicitor’s Office put in place robust mechanisms to avoid any potential or perceived conflict of interest.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Suzanne Breen for the original story
Follow these links to find out more: https://socialistpartyni.org/analysis-news/local/rhi-inquiry-throws-light-on-stormonts-rotten-culture/
Mary Boyle – Somebody Know’s ???
40 years ago today this little girl disappeared the investigation was interfered with it was a political call
Somebody knows who lifted the phone this little girl never came home
Expose the corruption in Ireland how can anyone cover up the Mary Boyle Somebody Knows. Published on 20 Dec 2016. Mary Boyle In 1977 six-year-old Mary Boyle, a twin, vanished while visiting her grandparents in rural Ballyshannon, County Donegal and was never seen again. She left the remote farmhouse following her uncle who was returning a ladder to a neighbor. The uncle says he ordered her to go back and she has never been seen again. Two retired policeman testify to the political interference in the shape of a call from a high level politician just as they were closing in on the suspect. They say the intervention froze the investigation and the killer still walks free. Missing, presumed dead, little Mary is now Ireland’s oldest missing person case, and her disappearance is technically still the subject of an ongoing investigation – if you could call it an investigation. Among those seeking justice for Mary are leading country and western singer Margo O’Donnell, sister of Daniel O’Donnell and a distant relative of the Boyle family who has joined members of the family in their efforts to find justice. No worries Linda it upset me so much to think of that beautiful little girl.. Years ago I had dreams that I lay down in a field of flowers and they all came alive and they were all the little Irish little children who just wanted to play and never had a chance it was vivid and at the end of the day we all lay back down and went asleep.
British Political Policing Ongoing in the North of Ireland….
The Charles D’arcy 1916 Society Strabane would like to totally condemn the futile actions of the occupying forces of the PSNI/RUC on the streets of Strabane over the last number of weeks and indeed months.
With many thanks to:
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