Like father like son: Jimmy Hoffa Jr's union takes on UK bus giant National Express

Associate business editor

The president of America's Teamsters union, Jimmy Hoffa junior, last night urged National Express to open talks over labour practices at its Durham School Services business that runs some of the yellow US-style school buses.

Mr Hoffa will lead a Teamsters delegation, including drivers of the buses, which will attend Wednesday's National Express shareholders meeting in Birmingham in an attempt to call attention to what they say are "systemic problems" with the group's "human capital management" in the US.

More than 100 Teamsters investors, along with three members of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, the Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire county council and London borough of islington pension funds, have submitted a motion calling on the board's safety and environment committee to provide what they describe as "quality oversight" of "human capital management".

"The whole purpose of this is to call attention of the board to what is really going on with this business in the US. They are being told that everything is fine, but everything is not fine. The board should oversee what's been going on," Mr Hoffa told The Independent.

The Teamsters have pointed to repeated complaints to America's National Labour Relations Board as evidence of what it says are problems with the bus business. "We want to talk to them. We want the board to be more active in overseeing this business. We have reached out to them and told them we want to have a partnership but they are just not interested," he said.

Mr Hoffa said he believed workers in the US and Canada should have "the same rights and engagement as workers in the UK and Spain at National Express have".

Kieran Quinn, chairman of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, said that, as a long-term investor, it believed "effective management of human capital" was "essential to delivering sustainable returns". He said the fund was not convinced the company was "getting it right".

The resolution is backed by the Unite union and the TUC, which has been keen to push greater cross-border co-operation on matters like this involving multinationals.

Pirc, the voting adviser, has urged shareholders to back the resolution. But National Express is fiercely opposed and its chairman Sir John Armitt has written to shareholders to ask them to vote the resolution down. In the letter, he argued the that company's Driving Out Harm safety programme had cut accidents and that its workplace rights programme was drawn from the UN Declaration on Human Rights. National Express insisted it had "the right policies in place to protect the safety and welfare of our employees", adding: "Our safety and employee satisfaction statistics show the significant improvements we have made."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map