Thursday, 19 July 2007

FirstGroup, the Teamsters and UK shareholders

Check out John G's previous post for the background on this issue. The Teamsters statement is below. I'm a little bit off-message on this one as I do think there is some desire on the part of FirstGroup management to address these issues (if only to make them go away), but I'm sure colleagues from the US have a different perspective!

Harrassment And Intimidation Endured By First Student Employees

July 12, 2007

(Aberdeen, Scotland) – FirstGroup was told today that it should choose whether it wants co-operation or confrontation with its employees.

U.S. bus workers and British and American trade union officials told shareholders at FirstGroup’s Annual General Meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland that the company was suffering harm to its reputation because of the way it treats employees in the United States.

More than half of the meeting was taken up with an examination of the anti-union practices of First Student, First’s U.S. subsidiary which operates more than 20,000 yellow school buses.

Fifty complaints involving harassment and intimidation by First Student managers have been lodged with the National Labor Relations Board. Shareholders complained about the failure of FirstGroup-paid consultants John Lyons and Dan Roketenetz to provide the Board of Directors with accurate reports of their dealings with First Student workers in the United States.

Hope Lee, a First Student bus driver from San Diego told FirstGroup Chairman Martin Gilbert, “Roketenetz honestly did not tell shareholders the truth.”

Gilbert promised to look into Roketenetz’s performance and further pledged to investigate managers in Beaufort, South Carolina after U.S. federal regulators found merit in Teamster claims of anti-union activity.

Jim Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said: “We have educated the shareholders and, unless action is taken, they know that the abuse of workers in the U.S. is going to be a major problem for the company.

“This is just the beginning of workers’ efforts to achieve justice and fairness at First Student. Our campaign will continue to expand politically and globally.

“We are moving our campaign from the shareholders to the stakeholders, including the U.K. and U.S. governments, international human rights organizations and U.K. trade unions.

“We fully expect FirstGroup to engage with workers in the U.S. and treat them fairly as they do workers in the U.K.”

Shareholders at the meeting also asked why the company felt it necessary to employ Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin guru.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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