Shareholders Call on Board to Address Human Capital Issues at North American Subsidiaries
(LONDON) – Shareholders in National Express Group PLC (NEX: LN) have submitted a shareholder proposal to the company, calling on the Board of Directors of the U.K.-listed multinational transport corporation to improve oversight and increase transparency concerning the company’s human capital management policies and practices.
More than 100 Teamster shareholders, the Teamsters General Fund and Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) members—Greater Manchester, LB of Islington and Nottinghamshire County Council —are co-sponsoring the resolution. These LAPFF members hold three million shares of National Express.
The shareholder proposal calls for the Board to expand the role and responsibilities of its Safety and Environment Committee to provide quality oversight of the company’s human capital management and to adopt ameaningful and enforceable workplace human rights policy.
The shareholder proposal is intended to be put before the company’s Annual General Meeting to be held on May 15, 2014.
The shareholder proposal is the culmination of more than four years of shareholder engagement with the senior leadership of National Express, including repeated requests to the National Express Board of Directors and senior management to address serious, systemic problems with the company’s human capital management in North America. These potentially create risks for the sustainability and growth of its most profitable business—North American school bus services.
The proponents of the resolution point out that National Express employs more than 35,000 people worldwide and that no Board committee seems to be responsible for ensuring that the company’s people strategy is aligned with the overall strategy.
“LAPFF members are long-term investors, and believe that effective management of human capital is crucial to delivering sustainable returns. Employees who feel their rights are respected, and are offered a good deal by their employer, are more likely to stick by the company and do a good job,” said Councillor Kieran Quinn, Chairman, Greater Manchester Pension Fund. “We’re not convinced that National Express is getting this right currently, and
we are filing this resolution so shareholders can give the Board a clear mandate to address these risks to the value of the company and its sustainability.”
“The problems at National Express in North America are systemic and longstanding, and the Board’s inaction has gone on long enough,” said Ken Hall, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer. “We believe the poor morale the Board has allowed to fester at Durham in the USA and Stock Transportation in Canada has increased safety risks in an industry where safety is most critical—student school bus transportation. It’s time for this Board to pay attention to its shareholders and take proactive action to ensure safety and worker rights throughout National Express’ global operations.”