Two days ago it was revealed that security services firms Serco and G4S have been forced to pay £100,000 compensation in damages to 14 children who had been assaulted by staff at Secure Training Centres (STCs). Earlier this year it was revealed that the same firms are paying migrants a paltry £1 per hour (i.e. around £6 per hour less than the legal and equally paltry minimum wage) for work undertaken at the detention centres they manage.
An investigation found that the 14 children had been assaulted by Serco and G4S staff between 2004 and 2008. An inquiry was eventually set up as a result of two deaths – that of Gareth Myatt and Adam Rickwood – in 2004. Myatt was 15 years old and died after being restrained by three officers at the Rainsbrook STC for refusing to clean a sandwich-maker. Rickwood committed suicide after four carers at the Hassockfield STC restrained him because he refused to go to his room. Forceful restrain is still commonly practised in such institutions today.
The £1 per hour wage for migrants held at detention centres managed by Serco and G4S also continues. In one month alone migrants undertook 45,000 hours of work for £45,000 of pay. Yarl’s Wood and Colnbrook detention centres are operated by Serco; Brook House and Tinsley House are run by G4s. The migrants are not forced to work, but do so to keep themselves occupied. They are not allowed to unionise. The wage, of course, is an insult and also helps keep the minimum wage down for British citizens. In 2013 G4S made £122m in pre-tax profit, while Serco made £106m.
Both Serco and G4S have been beset by a series of scandals, including charging government for electronically tagging offenders who were either dead or in prison and overcharging the NHS.