G4S: Staff

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As at the end of December 2011, G4S had 657,200 employees, located as follows:

  Employees %
Europe 123,200 19
North America 59,700 9
Asia 257,600 39
Middle East 49,500 8
Africa 111,900 17
Latin America and Caribbean 55,300 8

Total number of employees: 657,200

The Board


Nick Buckles, Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Buckles has been the chief executive of G4S since 2005, having previously headed Securicor from 2002 until the merger with Group 4 Falck. He had joined Securicor in 1985, lured away from Avon Cosmetics by the offer of a Ford Escort.[1]

Never knowingly under-quoted, he says his business hero is Margaret Thatcher, that the government should “continue to focus on traditional Tory values”[2] and that one of his core business principles is having “a strong culture of ethical dealing”[3] - a particularly empty comment given the company's public image has moved from hapless to brutal on his watch. He also says his favourite piece of music is 'Refugees', by Van der Graaf Generator - again, ironic given he makes money from a company renowned for beating them up.

And what money he makes. Even after the ISS cock up, described as “the worst takeover blunder by any FTSE 100 boss” for several years,[4] he took home a cool £1.9 million in 2011, - less than the previous year's £2.5 million but enough to get him a VdGG concert all to himself.

His show of penance in foregoing his bonus was undermined somewhat by a vesting of shares worth £1.1 million, awarded as part of his pay package in 2008, and an allocation of stock worth a further £1.7 million if the company meets its performance targets in 2014. Add on a pension now worth £9 million, after a 2011 increase of £1.6 million, and he's doing quite a bit better than the vast majority of his staff, who find it quite a bit harder to get money out of the company. Private Eye recently contrasted Buckles' 2011 earnings of £13.7 million with the £215,000 paid out to families of employees killed or injured on the job last year.[5] Buckles is currently the chairman of the Ligue Internationale des Sociétés de Surveillance, the international association of leading security companies. He was also a non-executive director at Arriva Group from 2005 until 2010.

G4S Earnings (2011): £900,000

G4S Shares: 2.1 million

Trevor Dighton, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Director

A Securicor accountant since 1995, he has been G4S chief number-cruncher since 2002, moving into the CFO position when it was created in 2004.

G4S Earnings: £545,000

Shares: 1.4 million

Grahame Gibson, Chief Operating Officer, Regional CEO – Americas, Executive Director

Gibson joined Group 4 in 1983 as Finance Director and became COO in 2005 after the merger. He also sits at Buckles' side in Ligue Internationale des Sociétés de Surveillance meetings, where he is a board member.

G4S Earnings: £667,000

Shares: 857,000

Buckles, Dighton and Gibson’s remuneration is even more generous than those figures suggest as many of their G4S shares are paid into the company’s Employee Benefit Trust.[6] Described by HMRC as “tax avoidance, pure and simple”, EBTs allow employees of a company to avoid a significant amount of tax. If the shares the company deposits in the trust on their behalf increase in value, that growth will be taxed as capital gains and therefore at 28%, rather than the income tax rate, which for high earners like Buckles and co. will be 45%. National insurance will also be avoided on the gains. According to G4S' accounts, each of Nick Buckles, Trevor Dighton and Grahame Gibson had a “deemed interest in 6,265,571 ordinary shares held in the trust.”[7] Employee Benefit Trusts have been described by HMRC as “tax avoidance, pure and simple”. No wonder Buckles told the Daily Telegraph last year he “never had any ambition of working for anyone else.”[8]

Mark Seligman, Deputy Chairman, Non-Executive Director

Former banker Seligman juggles his G4S responsibilities with board membership of BG Group (the British Gas group of companies) and a directorship at Kingfisher Plc, as well as senior roles advising the government on decisions that G4S takes a particular interest in. He is the chairman of the Industrial Development Advisory Board,[9] a statutory body within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that “provides robust, independent, business advice to Ministers on large business investment decisions”, and a member of the Regional Growth Fund Advisory Panel.[10] A government- appointed body, chaired by Michael Heseltine, the panel considers bids for funding for the government’s £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund. The fund's purpose is to “boost private sector growth in areas currently over dependent on the public sector”.

Seligman is also an alternate member of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers.[11] The Panel describes its “central objective” as ensuring “fair treatment for all shareholders in takeover bids”, - ironic given G4S' attempted takeover of ISS faltered when shareholders bristled at the perceived unfairness of the bid.

Before all this, Seligman was a chartered accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and held senior roles at investment banks SG Warburg & Co, Barclays de Zoete, CSFB and Credit Suisse.

G4S Earnings: £82,000

Shares: 75,000

Paul Condon, Senior independent director, Non-executive director

Ex-copper Condon, now Lord Condon to his friends, has earned his G4S stripes with the company's move into policing. The former Chief Constable of Kent and Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police's advice and contact book will have been the subject of Buckles and co.'s attention recently. Condon has also worked at the British Security Industry Association and the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit. According to the G4S annual report, he has a “particular focus on the group's involvement with sporting events” for the company.

And if the potential for conflicts of interest weren't already strong enough, in addition to the G4S grind, Condon currently spends his time as an advisory board member of Vidient Systems, a provider of “video analysis solutions for security, safety, and business intelligence applications” and is the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Kent.

G4S earnings: £125,000 a year.

Shares: 2,000

Mark Elliot, Non-Executive Director

Corporate journeyman Elliot combines his G4S work with time spent as the non-executive chairman of defence profiteer QinetiQ[12] and as a board member of Reed Elsevier, an “information solutions” company.

Before all this, Elliot held senior roles at IBM and sat on the board of hospital software company IBAX, which is owned by IBM and Bazter Healthcare. He was also the Chairman of Dean’s Advisory council of the Kelly School of Business, Indiana University.

G4S earnings: £64,000

Shares: 25,000

Winnie Kin Wah Fok, Non-Executive Director

Recent appointee Fok has been brought in for her “extensive knowledge of Asian markets”. Most of this appears to have come from her previous work as senior partner of private equity firm EQT (which part-owns ISS), and CEO of its Asia fund. She was also the managing director of the Bermuda-based CEF New Asia Partners.

Fok is currently a non-executive director of bearings company AB Skf, water chemistry company Kemira Oyj and Volvo, which G4S won a three-year security contract with in April 2012.

She is also a senior advisor to Investor AB, the largest industrial holding company in Northern Europe and Husqvama, a “global leader in outdoor power products”, such as chainsaws and lawnmowers.

G4S earnings: £55,000

Shares: 20,000

Bo Lerenius, Non-Executive Director

Old-timer Lerenius is G4S' man in the ports, as well as its go-to-guy for European flesh-pressing. The former chief executive of ferry and shipping company Stena Line and Associated British Ports Holdings, Lerenius can put G4S in touch with the best-placed land-lubbers when contracts come up for renewal.

He has also been chief executive of Ernstromgruppen, a Swedish building materials company, and a board member of Land Securities Group, Mouchel Group and Thomas Cook Group.

In addition to his G4S responsibilities, Lerenius is also a board member of Knight Infrastructure II, the chairman of Brunswick Rail, honorary vice president of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK and senior advisor to the infrastructure fund of Swedish venture capital group EQT. If you're wondering where you've heard the latter before, it is a part-owner of G4S takeover target ISS. No conflict of interest there then!

G4S earnings: £55,000

Shares: 16,000

Clare Spottiswoode, Non-Executive Director

A mathematician and economist by training, Spottiswoode's “considerable experience in the public sector” no doubt encouraged G4S to get her involved in 2010. She has worked at the UK Treasury and served as director general of Ofgas, the UK gas regulator. And with the energy sector high on G4S' to-do list, her current appointments as chairman of Gas Strategies Group Limited, non-executive director of EnergySolutions Inc, non-executive director of Ilika plc, and non-executive director of Seven Energy International Limited may come in handy.

Spottiswoode has also been a board member of Tullow Oil and a member of the Independent Commission on Banking and the Future of Banking Commission.

G4S earnings: £55,000

Shares: -

The drones joining Buckles, Dighton and Gibson on the Executive Management Team are:

Graham Levinsohn, Group Strategy and Development Director

Debbie McGrath, Group Communications Director

David Taylor-Smith, Chief Operating Officer and Regional CEO – UK and Africa

Dan Ryan, Regional CEO – Asia Middle East

Willem van de Ven, Regional CEO – Europe

Irene Cowden, Group HR Director

Søren Lundsberg-Nielsen, Group General Counsel

Other notable employees:

Adam Mynott, Head of Media Relations

Previously a BBC foreign correspondent, Mynott joined G4S in September 2011.[13] His appointment is a further sign of the importance G4S is placing on expanding into new markets, with the press release announcing Mynott's appointment saying he would be responsible for “raising the global profile of the company”.

John Reid, Director, G4S Regional Management (UK & Ireland) Limited

John Reid, or Lord Reid of Cardowan, as he prefers to be known, joined G4S in 2009, having previously been Tony Blair's Home Secretary and Secretaries of State for Health and Defence. The £50,000 a year it is giving the New Labour hard man quickly paid off for G4S as it landed a multi-million pound, four-year contract to supply private security guards for around 200 Ministry of Defence and military sites across the UK just three months after it took him on.[14]i Since then he has been diligent in ensuring the hi-tech security used by his employers is a feature of parliamentary debates whenever possible.[15]

Richard Northern, Adviser, G4S Risk Management.

Former British Ambassador to Libya during the period leading up to and throughout the 2011 uprising. According to G4S, he will be “pivotal in identifying, introducing and developing relationships with prospective clients and key Libyan decision-makers”.[16]

Tom Wheatley, Delivery Director for the Lincolnshire Police business transformation contract, G4S Policing Support Services

Wheatley joined G4S in September 2010 after 16 years moving his way up the Prison Service, becoming governor at HMP Nottingham from 2006-2008 and HMP Moorland from 2008-2010.

Wheatley's father, Phil, was the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service (Noms), and somewhat less keen on privately run prisons, saying security companies had “brought little innovation to the management of custody”. He added that the only gains from their involvement had come from “using fewer staff, paying lower wages, and providing less employment protection for staff.”1

Happily for G4S, Tom has pushed his father's foibles aside, and helped the company get the Lincolnshire police contract. His earnings aren’t disclosed but it’s a safe bet G4S will have overlooked its “low wages” policy for him.

Sue Saunders, Director, Rye Hill prison

Another screw lured by the G4S lucre. Saunders worked for the prison service for 21 years, running Bullingdon, then Holloway, prisons. She helped Birmingham prison get ready for G4S last year and was involved in G4S’ successful bid to operate HMP Oakwood in Wolverhampton.[17]

Martin Ewence, Head of Maritime Security, G4S Risk Consulting

A former Commander in the Royal Navy and Chief of Staff to the NATO Counter Piracy Squadron in the Somali Basin, Ewence has been brought on board the good ship G4S to make as much money from pirates as possible.[18] He is also a member of the Maritime Security Working Group within the Security in Complex Environments Group, the UK Ggovernment's industry partner for the regulation and accreditation of private security providers on land and at sea.

David Griffiths, Director of Probation and Community Services, G4S Care & Justice Services

Previously Deputy Director (justice policy) at the Ministry of Justice.[19]

Haile Gebrselassie, G4S 4teen mentor

Gebrselassie, regarded as one of the best long-distance runners of the last 20 years, is a regular feature of G4S' press releases as the mentor for the G4S 4teen programme, which sponsors 14 young athletes.




For other staff, G4S has not been as generous an employer. The company's outsourcing model depends on cost-cutting, and the first cost is invariably the staff. In the UK, complaints have been made against G4S detention centres for being under-staffed, leading to detainees missing medical and court appointments. (see www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3471) Whistleblowers have accused the company of not providing adequate training to security guards 'escorting' refugees on mass deportation flights.[20]

When responsibility for a public service transfers to G4S, terms of conditions of existing staff salaries may stay the same but they rarely extend to new staff. About 600 staff switched to G4S when it took over running Winson Green prison in Birmingham in 2011, for example. Although the former government employees retained their salaries, new recruits have been brought in on lower than the average £28,000 pay and on different terms and conditions.[21]

And as it expands into 'developing markets', the majority of its employees' wages are sliding further away from their bosses in the UK. RecentlyFor example, security guards in Nepal and South Korea recently went on strike to protest against G4S' low levels of pay, (see www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4220) for example, while an investigation by Malawi's Sunday Times newspaper found that wages paid by G4S “raised questions about the survival mechanisms [employees use] to see themselves and their families through each month.”[22]

The NGO War on Want had previously found that G4S paid its workers so little in Malawi that “their daily meals consisted of only bread, they lived in homes without electricity or running water and cannot afford to meet their children's school or medical fees”. It also found that white G4S managers in South Africa were accused of forcing black employees to use separate toilets “while white guards are given keys to the company toilet. And black G4S guards at Johannesburg airport complain that white supervisors call them 'kaffirs' and 'monkeys'”.[23]

Low wages and poor treatment of staff have been familiar themes in many of the countries G4S works. In Namibia G4S security guards went on strike in 2011 after G4S had refused to sign a recognition agreement with the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau). The armed response guards were also protesting their salaries and benefits, including healthcare and pensions.[24][25] ii

In Mozambique, G4S security guards protesting against “unjust deductions from their wages” in 2011 were savagely beaten by riot police in front of television cameras outside the G4S human resource department.[26]

BackPreviously, in August 2006, the Labour MMinister had ordered G4S subsidiary Wackenhut to pay over $1 million to hundreds of workers for overtime wages it had refused to pay since 1994. In another dispute, 300 security guards were made redundant when the US embassy refused to renew its contract with Wackenhut. According to AllAfrica, when the managing director of G4S in Mozambique, John Mortimer, refused to obey the Labour Ministry order to give the workers their severance pay, the Labour Minister cancelled his work permit, thereby effectively throwing him out of the country.[27]

In 2006, Union Network International (a global union federation) lodged a complaint against G4S under the OECD Guidelines, detailing a wide range of alleged shortcomings from around the world relating to what was seen to be a failure of the company to “contribute to economic, social and environmental progress with a view to achieving sustainable development” and “to “respect the right of their employees to be represented by trade unions”. The complaint addressed specifically alleged violations in Malawi, Mozambique, Greece, the United States, Israel, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nepal, and noted workers from South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Panama, and other nations had “gone on strike against G4S or protested over poor pay and conditions within the last year”.iiiAs part of the UNI campaign, in 2005 and 2006, workers from South Africa, Kenya, Indonesia, the US and Europe, as well as representives of workers in India and Uganda, protested at the G4S AGM, accusing the company of driving down wages and conditions in several countries where it operates, denying workers basic rights, cutting healthcare and other benefits and opposing recognition and bargaining campaigns by security guards.

A spokesperson said Group 4 Securicor was rapidly becoming the "the worst face of global capitalism", battling through local courts to deny collective bargaining and laws.[28][29][30]

In Indonesia, G4S workers went on strike in 2006 over the firm's plans to reduce benefits for employees following a company merger in 2006. The Center for International Labor Solidarity said Jakarta police had called in for questioning and intimidated four union leaders. According to a US State Department report,: the police asked them to “identify other workers from photographs taken at a lawful union demonstration in April. The company terminated 200 workers and refused to rehire them despite a decision by the local manpower officer that the strike was legal and the strikers should be rehired. In October a labor dispute resolution committee awarded the workers two months' salary. At year's end the workers had not yet received any monetary compensation.”[31]iv

In Australia, G4S guards working in county courts and magistrates courts in the state of Victoria went on strike in 2009, demanding the same pay rates as guards at other major contractors in Victoria. Their union representative said they were “trapped on poverty wages and have an employer that won’t bargain in good faith.” He added “G4S is treating its employees with the same contempt is has shown for prisoners and asylum seekers in its care”.[32]
[1] E Gosden, Profile: Nick Buckles, the marathon runner who's in it for the long haul, Telegraph, 17.10.11

Buckles, Dighton and Gibson’s remuneration is even more generous than those figures suggest as they are each taking advantage of G4S' Employee Benefit Trust.v

[2] A Gribbin, ‘Nick Buckles: "My first job was as a postman”’, New Statesman, 17.4.12

[3] ibid 1.

[4] A Brummer, ‘G4S Buckles under strain as bid for ISS is hit by shareholder revolt’, The Daily Mail, 2.11.11

[5] ‘Number Crunching’, Private Eye 4.5.12- 17.5.12

[6] F Abrams, ‘Tax Avoidance’, File on 4, BBC, 13.5.12

[7] G4S Annual Report and Accounts 2011

[8] ibid 1

[9] Accessed from:

[10] Accessed from: www.bis.gov.uk/policies/economic-development/regional-growth-fund
[11] Accessed from: www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk/
[12] Accessed from: www.powerbase.info/index.php/QinetiQ
[13] ‘BBC’s Adam Mynott joins G4S as Director of Media Relations’, www.g4s.com, 27.9.11

[14] M Hickley, ‘Security firm lands MoD job three months after John Reid joins as a consultant’, Daily Mail, 14.3.09

[15] Private Eye, 27.1.12 – 9.2.12

[16] ‘G4S Appoints Former British Ambassador to Libya’, www.g4s.com, 9.1.12

[17]‘G4S announces senior appointments in prisons and policing services’, www.g4s.com, 1.2.12

[18] ‘G4S strengthens maritime risk consultancy’, www.g4s.com, 23.4.12

[19] ‘G4S appoints new Director of Probation and Community Services’, www.g4s.com, 8.12.11

[20] P Lewis & M Taylor, ‘Staff on deportation flights played 'Russian roulette' with lives’, Guardian, 8.2.11

[21] G Plimmer, G4S chief’s pay cut after ISS debacle, Financial Times, 11.4.12

[22] R Chirombo, ‘Living on K4, 700 a month’, The Sunday Times, 25.12.11

[23] ‘African staff attack UK firm over racism and poverty pay’, www.waronwant.org, 29.5.07

[24] N Smit, ‘Armed response guards dispute progresses’, The Namibian, 18.4.11

[25] Uni Global Union, ‘Organising in security in Namibia’, www.uniglobalunion.org, 15.2.12 www.uniglobalunion.org
[26] All Africa, “‘Insensitive’ Employers Blamed for Labour Disputes”, Ghana MMA, 25.4.11

[27] All Africa, ‘Mozambique: Riot Police Attack Protesting Security Guards’, www.allafrica.com, 7.4.11. See HERE http://allafrica.com/stories/201104070728.html for more information.

[28] ‘Memorandum submitted by the International Centre for Trade Union Rights’, accessed from: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200910/jtselect/jtrights/5/5we53.htm
[29] P Inman & D Gow, ‘Unions say Group 4 is unfair to workers’, Guardian, 30.6.05

[30] P Chamberlain, ‘Workers of the world unite’, Guardian, 12.8.06

[31] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, accessed from: www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61609.htm
[32] United Voice, ‘G4S security strike could shut down court system’, www.unitedvoice.org.au, 9.9.09