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Labour conference at risk over security row

26 August 2016

A disagreement between the GMB union and Showsec has resulted in a lack of security arrangements for the annual Labour party conference.

According to the BBC, the dispute has arisen over union recognition.

A late approach to G4S was made to resolve the issue, despite the fact that Labour had voted to boycott the company over claims it had links to Israeli prisons.

However, G4S Events (UK) managing director Eric Alexander, told PFM that an event of this size and complexity would take a year to prepare for.

"Security officers need to be cleared and accredited to work, detailed risk assessments made, safety and security plans with the Home Office and local police forces drawn up and supporting logistics, such as security equipment and staff accommodation, put in place," he said.

"Our team of more than 100 security staff has secured the Labour Party’s annual conference for over 20 years and the feedback from officials and the police on our work last year, as in the past, was extremely positive."

Mr Alexander said his company was "disappointed" not to continue the relationship.

"Safety for delegates and our staff is our priority and at this late stage and with our teams committed elsewhere, we are not in a position to step in and provide security for the conference,” said Mr Alexander.

The Labour party has told the BBC the event will go ahead, but now has less than a month to confirm the security arrangements.

With the GMB claiming that Showsec has a "disregard for unions", the company denied this and said it had not been informed that the signing of a union agreement was included in the contract.

Unite union's Len McCluskey has criticised Labour general secretary Iain McNicol for not resolving the issue.

"I am astonished that we are only four to five weeks to Conference and that he has not done so," he added, according to the BBC.

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