Security company G4S, whom Labour voted to boycott due to its Israel connection in November, have placed Labour in a predicament after it was contacted this week to run security for the Labour Party’s annual conference; an offer G4S refused.
Now the Labour party’s annual conference is in jeopardy, and the Labour leadership only have themselves to blame.
In November last year, Labour’s National Executive Committee voted by 12 votes to 4 that it would boycott G4S, the company who had run its security for over 20 years. The decision came just two months after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party and before the row of anti-Semitism in the party came to public light.
And the reason for the boycott? Israel.
G4S is an international security company, working in many countries around the world. One of those countries is Israel and as a result of its work protecting Israeli civilians it has become one of the main targets of the anti-Israel BDS movement.
It was pressure from this movement that seems to have resulted in Labour’s move to boycott G4S. Despite G4S having good relationships with unions and having been praised for its work at previous Labour conferences, it was added to the boycott list.
Back in November it seemed reasonable that Labour could find an alternative security firm to handle their security. Their move was only supposed to hurt G4S, however, their decision has now come back to bite them.
Labour had contacted a number of security firms to take the place of G4S. However, there was only one company that was willing to provide security for the event, ShowSec. As Ian McNicol, general secretary of Labour’s NEC pointed out, this choice was unsatisfactory as the Liverpool-based firm do not have a unionised work force and, as a result, are in a row with the GMB union.
Unable to resolve this issue, and with Showsec unwilling to sign a union agreement, the National Executive Committee had to do the unthinkable; go back on their decision and ask G4S for help.
This week Labour asked G4S if they could provide security for their event, and, in return, G4S said no.
A message from Labour HQ to Iain McNicol of the GMB reads:
“We are therefore in the very difficult position of having to appoint a potentially anti-union organisation to a high profile role at annual conference. We do not have other options to pursue and are under pressure from the Home Office to make an appointment very soon. It must be noted that should we be unable to appoint a security contractor it is within the power of the Home Office/police to stop conference taking place.”
So, will Labour compromise on its principles and now employ a company that is anti-union or will it cancel the event altogether?
All we know is that this would not have happened if Labour had not made the decision to boycott G4S over its work in Israel. As Sir Eric Pickles said last year, Labour seems to “stumble from one fiasco to another”.
Boycotting Israel never wins.
Christians United for Israel UK