G4S is one of the five largest private security companies in the world, and one of its operations is in Peru. In 2019 its income was 7.7 billion pounds sterling (approximately 32,534,648,300 soles), however, it will leave thousands of Peruvian families without income. While the company has a G4S Employees’ Trust Fund for staff in global financial difficulties, it has not put these funds at the service of the workers who were suspended, and those it intends to suspend across the country.
In Peru, the company unilaterally applied the perfect suspension of work, which allows employers and workers to resolve their employment relationship in situations of force majeure, such as this health crisis. The company failed to comply with Supreme Decree No. 011, where the Peruvian government states that prior to adopting this measure there must be coordination with the union, in this case the G4S National Workers Union of Peru, affiliated to UNI Global Union, and must try not to affect the jobs and remuneration of workers.
The company, which did not comply with these steps, sent a letter to the union stating that the suspension: “will extend for a period of 81 days, from Monday, April 20 to July 9” and that “during this period the employment relationship shall remain in force, but temporarily suspended, consequently, workers’ services and payment of remuneration will be suspended”, affecting hundreds of workers and their families.
G4S published on its website: “As the impact of Covid-19 has spread throughout the world, a key priority for us has been to ensure the health and safety of our 558,000 employees.” In Peru, it omitted carrying out this evaluation in order to affect workers as little as possible regarding their remuneration, and to hear the union’s proposals that were never taken into account. It is clear, therefore, that a unilateral and arbitrary measure was applied.
The Peruvian government implemented the “Reactiva Peru” (Reactivate Peru) program to subsidize companies during the pandemic. In the case of G4S, the company obtained 3,600,000 soles in financial compensation, but despite this, it decided to suspend its workers. Eduard Stam, World Head of UNI Property Services, said: “7.7 billion GPD multinational G4S is protecting its business against the Corona crisis by leaving 800 poorly paid Peruvian workers without any means of income. Shame on you!”
In April, SINTRAG4S requested a labor inspection, and in May, the extension of the complaint in order to verify if the procedure was in compliance with the relevant regulatory budgets, or if fraud was committed by using and abusing the published regulations, as in legal terms, the perfect suspension requires that the workers and their representatives (union) must be informed first, and then the Ministry of Labor, so as to perform an evaluation and subsequent inspection to review the participation of company workers, and only after seven days of having carried out the inspection, the Ministry of Labor will respond indicating whether or not the company can apply the perfect suspension of work.
Marvin Largaespada, Regional Director of UNI Americas Property Services, added: “UNI, jointly with its affiliates, will continue to demand that G4S workers in Peru have access to the Employees Trust Fund and not be left completely helpless during this crisis; it is the workers who have been fighting on the frontline during the pandemic and deserve respect and protection”.