UK Politics

G4S 'rejects Labour conference security offer'

G4S Image copyright PA

Security giant G4S says it has rejected a last-minute approach by Labour to cover its annual conference.

G4S - which Labour previously voted to boycott - said it was contacted this week but could not take on the "large, complex" job at short notice.

It comes amid a standoff between the GMB and another security firm, Showsec, over union recognition.

Labour refused to comment on commercial arrangements but sources said the conference would go ahead as planned.

The GMB has claimed the conference could be "scuppered" by its row with Showsec, which centres on the company's refusal to sign a union recognition agreement before the conference, which begins in Liverpool on 25 September.

'Successful relationship'

Security at recent conferences has been provided by G4S, which Labour's executive committee voted to boycott, over claims the company has links to Israeli prisons.

The company said it had been approached earlier this week by Labour for this year's event.

G4S managing director Eric Alexander said his company had been disappointed not to continue its "successful working relationship" with Labour.

Planning for such an event would normally take up to a year, involving clearance for security officers, detailed risk assessments and planning with local police forces, he said.

"Safety for delegates and our staff is our priority and at this late stage and with our teams committed elsewhere, we are not in a position to step in and provide security for the conference."


The GMB has claimed Showsec's "disregard for unions" means it is "totally unsuited to the task of providing security for this event".

Showsec has said it is "not anti-unions in any way" and had not been told that signing a union agreement was a prerequisite to tendering for the conference contract.

In a leaked letter to the GMB, the general secretary of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, said responsibility for solving the "impasse" lay with Labour's general secretary Iain McNicol.

"I am astonished that we are only four to five weeks to Conference and that he has not done so," he added.

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