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Business Comment

James Moore: Back to school in the US for National Express

Outlook Forget the bus, bosses at National Express need to get on a plane. Today's AGM promises some fireworks with demonstrations planned from the main union (the Teamsters) representing drivers of those iconic yellow school buses used in the US.

Some 80 Labour MPs on the Parliamentary Unite Group (the Teamsters UK equivalent) have taken the unusual step of writing to its shareholders about the treatment of US staff, while the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum has called on members to use their votes to voice their displeasure.

The group will most likely get its motions passed. City institutions tend to take a rather jaundiced view of this sort of thing. But it is rather silly of the company to allow the issue to flare up like this.

The same thing happened with FirstGroup and its US school bus operation (they're good businesses to have) a while back. Its management took the hint, headed across the water, knocked heads together and got the whole thing sorted out.

National Express appears set on denying the problem, while moaning about those nasty teamsters. The company's bosses should remember that talk is actually quite cheap. But it can pay big dividends in terms of goodwill.