UNI Property Services supports trade union organising campaigns for cleaners and security guards around the world. Building strong unions is our most effective tool for improving living standards for workers across the sector, addressing notoriously poor working conditions and giving workers a voice on the job and in their community.
UNI Property Services supports or is developing organising campaigns in the following countries:
- India (security and cleaning)
- Colombia (security)
- Peru (security and cleaning)
- Turkey (security)
Watch the following video to get a sense of work and family life for security guards in India: Whispers in the Night
In addition, UNI Property Services leaders have committed to win workers' rights in Prosegur (see below), we campaign around International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards on June 15 each year and we have been working to build strong alliances of unions in ISS, Securitas, Prosegur and key airports around the world.
UNI Property Services is committed to signing Global Agreements that guarantee workers the right to form a union without employer interference. UNI Property Services is focused on reach agreements with leading multinational companies in our industry so workers can improve their wages, benefits and working conditions. Having reached a Global Agreement with Loomis in December 2013, UNI Property Services is focused on Spain-headquartered Prosegur, which is the largest provider of private security services in South America and one of the largest in Europe. Prosegur is estimated to employ between 150,000-200,000 security guards in roughly 20 countries. Prosegur operates through subsidiaries in a number of countries, so these numbers are estimates. Their largest country of operation is now Brazil with just over 50,000 workers.
While a solid, leading company in Europe, Prosegur has proven to be a rouge company in South America. A number of worker abuses have been identified by UNI and our affiliates. The head office of Prosegur in Spain has consistently either attempted to absolve itself of responsibility by claiming that it has a "decentalized" labor-relations policy globally or it just flatly denies violations that have been ruled on by courts of law and administrative agencies. UNI filed an OECD complaint against Prosegur in November 2013 and the Addendum filed in February 2014, following exhaustive efforts to resolve these problems. The OECD complaint documents extensive violations of workers' rights by Prosegur in Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru. (for the full complaint, see UNI PS webpage, with a weblink to the appendix of documents). This complaint helps to explain the critical need for multinational companies, like Prosegur, to enter into Global Agreements with UNI Property Services so that workers' rights are honored wherever the company operates.
UNI Property Services has Global Agreements with the largest security and cleaning companies in the world -- G4S, ISS, Securitas and Loomis.
G4S is the world`s largest Security Company, employing 608,894 workers in 113 different countries. It is a true global giant, the third largest employer in the world, with an annual income of 7,501 million GBP. In 2012 it made a profit of 175 million GBP.
While G4S has led on worker improvements in a number of countries, it continues to be dogged by bad news stories in recent years. Following the collapse of the Olympics Contract G4S and the loss of its Chief Executive Officer, G4S has been held to account for the death of an Angolan refugee in its care (Jimmy Mugenba), allegations of torture and mistreatment in prisons in South Africa and a fraud investigation over its charging practices in the UK Government concerning the tagging of prisoners. A long-standing controversy has been G4S' security practices in the Occuppied Territories in the Middle East where the company is implicated in the detention and transportation of prisoners that involve human rights abuses.
Its business is mainstream security work, in both public and private institutions. It is on contract with many governments as well as many leading private companies such as banks, commercial establishments, mines and docks. Specialty work includes electronic surveillance, transportation of valuables and providing correctional officers at penal institutions. The work performed by G4S security guards is often demanding and dangerous. Workers are often employed for long hours and an extensive number of workdays per month. Training is an important feature of this work.
G4S signed a Global Agreement (called the Ethical Employment Partnership, EEP) with UNI and GMB (a large UK union) in 2008. G4S signed up with the UN Global Compact in 2011, which emphasizes responsible global business practices. These agreements reflect a corporate commitment by G4S to work with the UNI and its affiliated unions to grant freedom of association to its workers in all parts of the world.
Securitas is a Swedish based company, one of the largest in the world. It employs 279,641 workers in 51 different countries in 4 Sectors. Created as a result of a number of acquisitions and mergers over the years it has 18 % of the market in Europe (including Turkey) and 16% of the market in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
In 2011 it recorded a profit of 24.3 million Euros. Its operations are include manual security work, intellectual property services, surveillance and other IT related services. Although typically a growth company, in 2012, Securitas' profits dropped as a result of the austerity cuts in Europe, in Spain alone it lost 19% of its business.
In 2012, UNI, Swedish Transport Workers' Union and Securitas renegotiated their Global Agreement. The agreement underpins the company's commitment to work with unions around the globe that are affiliated to UNI, providing freedom of association as a key feature of the agreement.
ISS has an overarching ambition to be the world`s best multi-services provider, offering contracts that cover all of the so called `soft` facilities management services including catering. Approximately, 50% its staff work in cleaning services and roughly 10% work in private security. ISS has recently been listed on the Danish stock exchange which has provided financial independence and stability for the company.
ISS employs 534, 273 workers in 53 countries with roughly half of its business concentrated in Western Europe. The other half of its workforce is based in so called `emerging markets` in India and other parts of Asia.
ISS was the first UNI Property Services signatory to a Global Agreement. ISS and UNI signed a renewed its Global Agreement in 2008, again committing the company to respecting workers rights and in particular the right of workers to organize unions.
UNI and Swedish Transport Workers' Union signed a Global Agreement with Loomis in December 2013. Loomis is exclusively in the field of transportation of valuables and was once part of Securitas. Also a Swedish-headquartered company, roughly one-third of Loomis' workforce of 22,000 is in the USA. The remainder are largely in Europe but the company is expanding into other geographic regions, including Latin America. Currently, Loomis operates in 17 countries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been engaged in a longstanding dispute with Loomis over union recognition. The signing of this Global Agreement should mark a new chapter for the company and unions in the USA.
UNI Property Services is committed to “leveling the playing field” in the global economy so all property services workers, cleaners and security guards, have the ability to earn a "living wage" and to be employed in decent work. Signing and then implementing Global Agreements with multinational companies is our best vehicle to accomplish these important worker goals.