Stop G4S Campaign Update & “No to G4S” blog

For regular updates on campaigns against G4S and other private security armies see http://notog4s.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

Stop G4S Campaign Update May 14th

“Researching Privatisation: the case of G4S and Asylum Housing” Conference

Thursday May 17th 10-4pm in Leeds. Contact us at dignitynotdetention@yahoo.co.uk for more details

SYMAAG “Stop G4S” working group meeting

Thursday May 24th at Scotia Works, Leadmill Road, Sheffield S1 4SE at 6.30pm

Latest media coverage

 

Stop G4S Campaign Update May 2nd

Media Coverage:

 

Stop G4S Campaign Update 28th February

New “Stop G4S blog” launched……..

  • Meeting G4S: 24/2/12. Clearly hurt by our description of them as “the world’s largest private security army” G4S asked for a meeting with some of those people who signed the original letter of protest, published in the Yorkshire Post, and SYMAAG campaigners so that they could put us right on our “incorrect and uninformed views” about the unsuitability of using a private prison guard company to house asylum seekers. In the meeting, GS4 managers talked about their plans for the “asylum market” and – more than once – explained “our objective is to make a return for our shareholders”.                             In an email following the meeting a G4S manager told us: “G4S hope that your views of us delivering the COMPASS contract have changed as a result of our meeting and that you feel able to amend your commentary accordingly both previously and going forward.” At least they’ve got a sense of humour. We can however agree with another G4S post-meeting statement though: “I also hope that our meeting gave all a better understanding of how G4S intend approaching the delivery of services”.  Yes indeed, that’s why we think it’s important to keep up the pressure on G4S and UKBA. One way to do that is come to the demonstration on March 1st outside Sheffield Town Hall at 12.30.

For a blow-by-blow account of the correspondence between the campaign and G4S see these reports on the Institute of Race Relations website

 

  • Campaign analysis: SYMAAG’s prolific John Grayson has had another article (“G4S turns a profit in ‘asylum markets': who’s speaking out and who’s lips are sealed?”) about the response to G4S’ attempt to privatise asylum housing on the Open Democracy website

 

  • Children’s welfare: One of the biggest concerns about the privatisation of asylum housing is the damage and disruption it will cause when children are moved out of their schools as G4S seek to re-house people in ever-cheaper accomodation. In response SYMAAG has contacted a number of campaigning groups, including the Children’s Society and submitted a joint letter to a number of Local Safeguarding Children Boards. Letters can be downloaded here Sheffield LSCB and here Barnsley LSCB

 

 

 

 

 

Stop G4S Demonstration Success

About 70 people came, at short notice, to the demonstration today (Feb 15th) in Sheffield to stop G4S winning the regional contract to house asylum seekers.

 

Asylum seekers and refugees were joined by trade unionists, people from faith groups and campaigners. Refugees expressed their disbelief that G4S should even be considered for the role of housing asylum seekers while awaiting manslaughter charges for the death of Jimmy Mubenga last year. Trade unionists from the local government union Unison explained that they opposed the privatisation of asylum housing because it would mean job losses for them as well as misery for asylum seekers. A member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign pointed out G4S’s role in funding the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

 

Many people made the point that there is no “economic crisis” for G4S (global profits in 2010 of £527 million) and life for their CEO Nick Buckles is not exactly a struggle with his £2.4m (plus bonus) a year.

 

Hundreds of leaflets were given out (available to download – see below) to passers’ by and (with only two exceptions that I saw) people were generally supportive: it’s not hard to make the case against privatisation and profit-hungry multinationals in Sheffield. And we do have a relatively good record of welcoming people fleeing persecution – ask members of Sheffield’s Chilean community who mostly came here in the 1970’s.

 

We marched through the centre of Sheffield, down Fargate past Castle Market and ended up outside Vulcan House, the regional HQ of the UK Border Agency. More speeches there, including from the famous Outtarra, now a refugee. He didn’t really need to use the megaphone…It was good to be there protesting as asylum seekers went on with the business of reporting to Vulcan House, every time facing the possibility that they could be detained.

 

We finished things off by Djoly Mpanzu formally handing over a petition (also available to download)  to a UKBA manager. The petition read “We the undersigned believe that people seeking asylum deserve decent housing and respect like everyone else. We do not think that G4S can provide either. G4S should not be paid public money to house asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside”.

 

Media coverage of the march was good: the Sheffield Star (having advertised the demo for us) took pictures (see here) and Radio Sheffield interviewed a number of us for a feature broadcast at 1 hour 20 minutes into the Dean Peppall show today. There’s also a report on the Radio Sheffield website. There’s also a couple of Facebook pages about today’s demo and the campaign as a whole.

 

David Price from SYMAAG and Robert Sponner from ASSIST were also interviewed for the Economic Survivor blog. There’s a report with a You Tube film and interviews with Outtarra and others here. Interview with SYMAAG’s John Grayson here

 

STOP Prison Guards Housing Asylum Seekers leaflet available for download

G4S demo flyerx2 available for download

Stop G4S petition available for download

 

 

 

Stop Prison Guards Housing Asylum Seekers. Stop G4S

3rd February: Campaign Update

  • SYMAAG’s John Grayson was interviewed by Toby Foster on Radio Sheffield about why G4S shouldn’t provide asylum seekers’ housing. Listen again at 7.45am during the programme.
  • The Yorkshire Post newspaper of 3rd February has a detailed article on the subject, including statements from SYMAAG and G4S. There is also a letter on behalf of SYMAAG in the same issue.
  • This letter, with a full list of signatories has been published at the Institute of Race Relations website
  • The issue was discussed at Sheffield City Council (which currently houses 60% of asylum seekers in Sheffield) on 1st February, where we received wide support from councillors who feared a drastic reduction in the quality of housing for asylum seekers if G4S take over.
  • Protest letters and emails have been sent to Sheffield MPs, including Nick Clegg.
  • UK Borders Agency management have been questionned – by a range of asylum rights groups in Sheffield – about the proposed contract with G4S. They were unable to provide any assurances about G4S’ actions regarding housing, or about the behaviour of any sub-contractors (likely to be United Property Management)
  • 2 regional demonstrations: “Stop Prison Guards Housing Asylum Seekers: Stop G4S”. On Wednesday 15th February and Thursday 1st March. Both at 12.30, both outside Sheffield Town Hall. Support has been growing around Yorkshire and Humberside for these demonstrations.

What You Can Do

  • Join the regional demonstrations in Sheffield. Get your community group, trade union, anti-cuts group, campaign group to support and sponsor the demonstrations
  • Write to/email your MP, telling them why public money shouldn’t be used to fund the world’s biggest security company, G4S, moving asylum seekers to the lowest cost housing. Find the contact details of your MP
  • Contact the UK Borders Agency to let them know what you think about G4S housing asylum seekers. Email neyhcompasstransition@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
  • Get in touch with us (via the ‘contact us’ tab on our home page) to tell us about your experiences of G4S in detention centres, prisons and during transports and deportations. We’d also like to hear from you if you have expereince of being housed by United Property Management (who G4S would like to use as sub-contractors)
  • Find out more about GS4’s history and their housing ambitions at the Corporate Watch site. The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) have blogged about the G4S housing bid.
  • Sign the e-petition “Stop G4S Housing Asylum Seekers”