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Allied Universal takeover of G4S

On the 16th March, North American based, private equity backed security company Allied Universal received the required backing from G4S shareholders to proceed with the takeover of G4S. The takeover will mean that G4S will no longer be a company listed on the stock exchange but will instead become the largest private equity backed employer in the world. On the 6th April it was confirmed that Allied and G4S are now one company with all conditions to complete the sale having been met.

But what does this mean for G4S staff?

The GMB remains concerned about the impact of the takeover on G4S staff. Because the takeover is a ‘Share’ sale, as opposed to an ‘Asset’ sale, the protection normally available to workers in the UK under legislation called TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment) does not apply. TUPE normally provides some protections when staff see their employment transfer from one employer to the other, meaning the new employer cannot simply make changes just because they have taken over. But TUPE does not apply in the G4S sale and therefore protection for G4S staff is more limited.

Without the protection of TUPE it is more important than ever that G4S workers are members of the GMB.

Even without the protection offered under TUPE, your employer must still collectively consult with the recognised trade union if they want to make changes and therefore it’s imperative you and your colleagues are all in the GMB to ensure your views are represented.

In their ‘offer’ document to shareholders Allied indicated they may ‘divest’ the care and justice sector of G4S. The GMB has written to the Director of Prisons Phil Copple to begin discussions on the future for these workplaces and will be meeting members of his team this month. TUPE would apply in this scenario and we would expect members’ terms and conditions to be protected.

Cash is now a small part of the G4S estate following its sale to Brinks. The whole cash industry has suffered more than most during the Covid pandemic and has still not recovered. The GMB is asking for assurances from Allied that they will continue to invest in G4S Cash UK to protect jobs until the use of cash recovers and profitability of this sector returns.

What happens next?

The GMB wrote to the Chief Executive of Allied, Steven Jones, on the 2nd February to request an urgent meeting to better understand how the takeover will impact on our members. Steve confirmed he would be happy to meet us if the sale went ahead. Now it has completed, we will be writing to Steve to get this set up.

In their offer document, Allied have said they will carry out a ‘Post Completion Review’ where they will look at their strategy and operations moving forward. This review could have implications for our members, and we will be seeking more information on what this might involve.

The GMB will continue to keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Nadine Houghton

GMB National Officer

Posted: 7th April 2021

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