G4S withdraws from job fair!
Brighton, UK – G4S, the security company privately contracted by the UK Border Agency to run many of the UK’s detention centres and security escort services, voluntarily withdrew from the Brighton & Hove Council, City Future Job Fair, taking place 4 June 2010, after Brighton-based groups issued an official complaint to job fair sponsors about G4S’s horrendous human rights abuses against migrants. The job fair was sponsored by Brighton and Hove City Council, the Evening Argus and Job Centre Plus.
Organisations working towards the fair and equal treatment of migrants in the UK, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, Brighton Voices in Exile, Stop Deportation Network-South, Brighton Calais Migrant Solidarity, Migrant English Project (MEP), and No Borders Brighton issued a statement to the Council stating: ‘While we appreciate that the job fair is trying to open up as many opportunities for Sussex residents as possible during a time of economic hardship, we are requesting that because of G4S’s long history and continued abuses towards migrants, you withdraw their invitation from the City Future Job Fair and discontinue their invitation to future job fairs. Do not put our residents in a situation where they will have to say, upon becoming a part of this abusive workforce, “I was just doing my job.”’ A day after submitting their complaint, the groups received notice from the Council that G4S voluntarily withdrew from the fair.
MP Caroline Lucas, who supported campaigners, was also deeply concerned about G4S’s presence at the job fair. “Yes, of course, we need to encourage new employers to the city but not a company that has such a controversial reputation for its handling of detainees” said the Green MP. “G4S profits from detention centre contracts that ought to be awarded to public agencies no commercial ones. It’s simply unethical for private companies to make money from providing prison custody services.”
G4S’s abuses against migrants are well-documented. In April 2010 a detainee in the G4S managed Oakington Detention Centre died in the middle of the night after being allegedly denied medical treatment by G4S staff. An inquiry into the death is ongoing, but meanwhile, the British Safety Council withdrew its 2009 International Safety Award from being awarded to Oakington (see British Safety Council, http://bit.ly/bV7G5). Aside from managing detention centres, G4S is contracted by the UK Border Agency to hire ‘security escorts’ who accompany those being forcibly removed on the flights to their countries of origin. The 2008 report, Outsourcing Abuse, recorded that in their study G4S escorts were responsible for 24% of all assaults against the migrants being removed (see Outsourcing Abuse, http://bit.ly/d8k4C8).