Democrat contender puts Group 4 on its guard by backing US union

Click to follow
The Independent Online

US presidential candidate John Kerry has thrown his weight behind a US union in a row over labour practices at security firm Group 4 Falck.

US presidential candidate John Kerry has thrown his weight behind a US union in a row over labour practices at security firm Group 4 Falck.

In a letter to its chief executive, Lars Norby Johansen, Mr Kerry conveyed his "strong support" for the Service Employees International Union, which has been campaigning against alleged poor working practices and standards at Group 4's US operation, Wackenhut. The letter was also addressed to Nick Buckles, head of UK firm Securicor, which is merging with Group 4.

The Democrat added: "I have great respect and admiration for SEIU, their efforts to improve conditions for workers and their leadership on the issue of private security."

The union has been a thorn in the side of Group 4 and Securicor. It has tried to derail the merger between the UK and Danish firms, lobbied shareholders and enlisted a number of senior politicians to its cause.

Mr Kerry urged Group 4 and the SEIU to work together "towards the goals of improving private security standards and elevating the working conditions of American security officers".

Group 4, however, has stood by its working practices, saying its pay and benefits exceed industry averages. It has also argued that its employee training is of the highest standard.

Mr Kerry, who stands for election in November, said Wackenhut had "a responsibility to maintain high standards and respect the rights of its workers".

He rounded off the letter by commenting: "Ensuring the safety and security of all Americans will be a top priority of my administration and I look forward to working together with both of your companies and SEIU toward that end."

Comments