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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea