National Express faces AGM revolt over staff rights

 

The umbrella group representing local authority pension funds has urged its members to vote down National Express' annual report over US labour practices at the transport company's lucrative school bus business.

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) said it had made the move following what it said were "representations" from drivers of the famous yellow buses that are used to ferry children to and from school in the US.

National Express is the second biggest private operator in the country, with businesses in 30 US states plus two in Canada.

However, the group has been at loggerheads with the Teamsters Union, which has even held demonstrations at the company's UK headquarters in collaboration with Unite.

The LAPFF said it did not want to take sides. However, it called on the company to expand the remit of its safety and environment committee to include responsibility for strategy on management of staff.

It also wants the committee to report to shareholders on that work.

Kieran Quinn, the forum's chairman, said: "It is clear to us that a number of employees in the US operations of National Express feel the company is not sympathetic to their right to independent representation and this is becoming an increasingly contentious issue. We take no view on the rights and wrongs of these claims. However, this situation has persisted for a number of years now and we feel therefore that the company and its investors would benefit from clearer oversight and reporting of employment issues."

The LAPFF, which represents pension funds with more than £115bn in assets, pointed out that it had previously backed the National Express board in its battle against hedge fund Elliott Advisors, when the activist built up a stake of nearly 20 per cent and sought to force the election of new directors. The fund has since halved its stake in the business.

However, now that the battle is over the LAPFF said it felt it had to act in the wake of the discussions with US staff. The organisation said it viewed employee engagement as "crucial" and said it had "spoken with a number of drivers who work within the company's US school bus business about their experiences".

"On the basis of this engagement, the Forum has decided to sign the statement calling for improved oversight and reporting."

"Our workplace rights policy guarantees the rights of all employees, wherever they work. Reflecting the importance of employee relations, and in line with accepted practice, this issue is reported to the whole board. We are confident this remains the correct approach."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee