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Teamsters bring National Express protest to UK

10 Jul 2014
Teamster school bus workers protest outside National Express HQ

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters) brought its protest against National Express Group plc to the UK on 27 March to demand that the multinational honours the human rights of its North American workers.

Teamster school bus drivers who work at the company in the United States rallied alongside members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, outside the National Express headquarters in Birmingham. They expressed their concerns over what the Teamsters believe is National Express’ anti-worker, anti-union policies in its North American operations, which include Durham School Services LP in the US and Stock Transportation in Canada.

The workers delivered a letter from Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa to National Express Group chief executive Dean Finch, calling on the company to better respect the rights of its workers.

Hoffa said: “It is deeply concerning when a UK-based plc engages in conduct that violates US workers’ rights and deprives them of decent working conditions and respect. National Express’s subsidiaries should be operating in the pursuit of the highest standards, not failing to uphold the human rights that should be afforded to all its workers throughout the world.”

The delegation of Teamster school bus workers is also holding a London meeting with major National Express stakeholders—union leaders, investors and political leaders—about the company’s negative human rights and labour relations record in North America.

ITF inland transport secretary Mac Urata commented: “The Teamsters' protest in the UK exposes the injustice of National Express taking an arbitrary approach to respecting workers' rights. Global unions such as ITF and their affiliates around the world are working together to get multinational companies to respect workers'  rights wherever they operate."

The Teamsters represent 4,700 workers at National Express, the second-largest operator of school bus services in North America. The company reports that while 94 per cent of the UK workforce is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, only 32 per cent of its North American workforce is.

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