Unison, one of the largest trade unions in the UK, representing 1.3 million public sector workers, has publicly called on G4S to withdraw from its security contracts with Israel.
Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis has written to the chief executive of G4S, Ashley Almanza, saying “I understand that your activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories only account for approximately 1% of G4S profits… However, I believe that the reputational risks that these activities pose for your company are far greater [than profit] and I would urge you withdraw now from doing business in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Unison points out that ‘as the occupying power, and a signatory to the 4th Geneva Convention, Israel is under a number of legal obligations with regards to prisoners’, which Israel is in breach of.
Unison details the following services that G4S currently provides:
- security for the Ketziot and Megiddo prisons in Israel, to which Palestinians are transferred in breach of the convention’s stipulation not to detail prisoners outside an occupied territory;
- the central command room at Israel’s Ofer prison in the illegally occupied West Bank; and
- security systems at Israel’s Kishon and Jerusalem detention centres, where there is evidence that Palestinians are tortured.
Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Hugh Lanning, welcomed Unison’s approach to G4S, saying:
‘G4S must be under no doubt that servicing Israel’s violations of the 4th Geneva Convention is not only wrong but deeply unpopular. Shareholders raised their opposition to G4S’ activities with Israel at the AGM. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, together with other groups committed to peace, justice and human rights, have been protesting against G4S’ servicing of Israeli prisons and detention centres. Other major trade unions have also made representations to G4S – civil society organisations are also calling for an end to G4S profiting from Israel’s crimes. G4S must listen, and respond by pulling out of all its contracts with Israel.’