National Express shareholders call for workplace rights review

National Express shareholders are urging the company’s board to back a resolution at the annual general meeting (AGM) in May seeking an independent review of employment practices in its United States school bus subsidiary, Durham School Services (DSS).

The investors, which include UK public sector union UNISON’s staff pension scheme and the Teamsters union (International Brotherhood of Teamsters) in the US, have filed the resolution to address longstanding concerns over Durham’s treatment of employees. These include poor working conditions and health and safety issues. The US National Labor Relations Board has found merit in over 65 complaints against the company since 2001.

At the 2014 AGM, the ITF and Unite the Union joined three Durham school bus workers and the Teamsters’ president, James Hoffa, to highlight the substandard conditions experienced by workers and passengers. The following year, a quarter of National Express shareholders chose not to back the board of directors’ recommendations on a resolution calling for an independent monitoring programme at Durham School Services.

Also in 2015, over 30 British members of parliament (MPs) signed an early day motion condemning the anti-trade union activities and two - Ian Lavery and Jim Sheridan - published a report link to revealing serious concerns over systemic anti-union bias at Durham after a visit to the US organised by the ITF and the Teamsters.

Teamsters general secretary-treasurer Ken Hall said: “While the company is lauded for its reporting, it’s what is not reported we believe holds unnecessary risks for investors. Unfortunately, for several years now, investors’ and workers’ concerns have fallen on the deaf ears of the senior management and the board of directors.”

Mac Urata, ITF inland transport secretary, added that it was astonishing that National Express continued to risk its reputation by refusing to accept the truth and act to end violations of workers’ rights at Durham School Services. He pledged that ITF unions would continue to support the Teamsters and fight for the highest standards for workers in every country in which National Express operates.

The National Express AGM will be on 11 May.

Read the Teamsters’ press release

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