Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What price your home delivery? Amazon accused of hiding real injury rate in its overworked warehouses

Internal docs tell a different story to public pronouncements

Amazon has apparently been misleading the public over the number of injuries that happen in its warehouses, with the e-commerce giant actually suffering nearly double the typical injury rate, according to leaked documents.

Despite years of complaints over how the company’s constant efforts to speed up the turnaround of packages has led to dangerous work practices that show in greater number of workers injured, Amazon has always insisted that it goes to great lengths to keep injuries down.

However confidential documents acquired by Reveal for The Center for Investigative Reporting tell a different story: Amazon has double the industry average when it comes to serious injuries – defined as requiring a worker to take a day off or restrict their activities and those injuries are increasing each year.

Those findings fit with what Amazon employees told The Register when we spoke to a number of them across the United States earlier this month, when they reported that a drive to fit aggressive turnaround times for packages was leading to corners being cut, injuries being dismissed, and as a result a higher level of injuries.

Injuries in any warehouse are an unfortunate part of the job given the constant movement of large numbers of heavy items, but whereas the US industry average is around 4 serious injuries per 100 employees, Reveal notes that Amazon has an overall rate of 7.7, with several warehouses reporting extremely high levels of injuries: the DuPont warehouse an hour south of Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, for example, reported 22 injuries per 100 workers.

The Reveal article identifies several factors for the higher rate of injuries at Amazon warehouses. They include the fact that new packing robots have put pressure on human workers to work faster while at the same timeforcing more repetitive tasks, which tend to strain specific muscles; and the rush that comes with the Prime Day and Cyber Monday events during which workers are pushed to deal with the larger throughput in the same timeframe.

There's more

However in our conversations with workers, they identified other factors, including that workers were encouraged – and sometimes pressured – to continue working after an incident in order to keep up with prescribed work rates or risk being fired.

Workers also reported safety rules being changed – such as the number of pallets that could be safety stacked and transported on top of one another – and pressure on staff to stay on task, resulting in them not asking for additional help with heavy items, as contributing to a larger number of injuries that they have experienced in other warehouses.

For its part, Amazon has always pointed out the amount of time and money it has invested in safety and its CEO Jeff Bezos insisting that “nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our employees.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive


Reveal reveals that in response to Congressional inquiries about the injury rate, Amazon’s vice president of public policy Brian Huseman noted that its 2019 holiday peak had seen a lower injury rate than the same time the previous year – something that was technically true, but he failed to note that the injury had actually increased across the whole of 2019.

In fact, Amazon did what it always does to drive change: it introduced another target and connected it to data, the documents reveal. They pushed for a 20 per cent decrease in the injury rate in 2018 – but the rate went up. In 2019 they reduced the required decrease to 5 per cent – but the injury rate went up again.

“Our investments in safety training and education programs, in technology and new safety infrastructure are working,” was a carefully worded Amazon statement. The changes were working in the sense that they had been implemented and were being used but not in the far more important context of the actual number of injuries.

And now COVID

That is not the only issue where Amazon is using careful statements to deflect concern while refusing to provide the actual data that shows what is really going on.

The issue of COVID-19 transmission in warehouses – especially given the close proximity of workers – has been a significant one for Amazon and the company has repeatedly outlined the protocols and efforts it goes to in order to limit the spread.

However, Amazon workers that we spoke to said that many of those rules were being persistently violated and ignored. As one example, drivers are required to say their temperature has been taken before the start of every shift but in reality, in part due to the need to hit delivery targets and the time it takes to be tested, drivers are simply tapping on their Amazon-supplied devices to say they have been tested and driving off.

Social distancing rules are also ignored, we were told, and the company did not always pay workers that stayed at home over COVID-19 fears, pushing them to come into work in order to make enough money for rent and food.

Workers are supposed to wipe down their equipment at the end of their shift, according to Amazon policies, but the company did not account for the time to do that while still insisting that they hit required work rates and do not go over acceptable “time off task” (TOT) rates.

Amazon automatically identifies the lowest 5 per cent of workers according to their work rates, regardless of how well the warehouse does overall, and writes them up. Too many write-ups or too much “time off task” and workers are fired, resulting in what employees told us was “the most dog-eat-dog environment I've ever seen in nearly 40 years in the workforce.”

Reports of COVID-19 virus infections were also delivered far too late to be useful, workers told us, sometimes as much as two weeks after the fact.


Amazon’s problem of coronavirus break-outs at warehouses was covered in a separate investigation published today by NBC, which reported that “Amazon’s lack of transparency, combined with the lack of federal protections for US workers who contract infectious diseases in the workplace, make it almost impossible to track the spread of COVID-19 at one of America’s largest employers during a coronavirus-led boom in online retail.”

The truth is that it’s impossible to know the size of the problem of how effective measures are because federal authorities are doing a poor job of getting the data or investigating themselves.

The organization that is supposed to key an eye on worker safety – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – is failing to do its job, complain health experts. OSHA requires companies to report illnesses and injuries but companies have been shown to constantly under-report the true figures.

We asked Amazon for any comment on the reports, its high injury rate and concerns over COVID-19 virus spread at its warehouses. We will update this article with any responses. ®

Celebs back away from Trump admin.’s $300M COVID-19 ad campaign

Funding for the public-awareness campaign came out of the CDC's budget.

BETH MOLE - 9/30/2

Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers on May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump administration's more-than-$300-million "public advertising and awareness campaign" on the COVID-19 pandemic is floundering as A-list celebrities back away and staff at the Department of Health and Human Services express opposition, according to reporting by Politico.

The campaign—organized by former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo—was intended to "defeat despair" and bolster confidence in the Trump administration's response to the pandemic. A central feature of the campaign would be video interviews between celebrities and administration officials, who would discuss the pandemic and the federal response.

To pull it off, Caputo and his team requisitioned $300 million that Congress had previously budgeted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also made a list of more than 30 big-name celebrities that they hoped to appear in the Health Department's videos, including Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, and Madonna.

But the project has been plagued by missteps from an inexperienced team, disorganization, and tepid celebrity interest. So far, it has only managed to recruit Dennis Quaid, CeCe Winans, and Hasidic singer Shulem Lemmer. Quaid dropped out of the campaign this week.

The campaign was further thrown into question earlier this month when Caputo—whom Trump appointed as spokesperson for the HHS—announced a leave of absence.

Meanwhile, many current and former staff at the HHS are against the campaign, which many see as a public-relations bid to help Trump's reelection.

FURTHER READINGAfter ranting about armed uprising, top Health Dept. spokesperson takes leaveJosh Peck, a former HHS official who oversaw the Obama administration's advertising campaign for, noted to Politico earlier that: "CDC hasn't yet done an awareness campaign about Covid guidelines—but they are going to pay for a campaign about how to get rid of our despair? Run by political appointees in the press shop? Right before an election?"

"It's like every red flag I could dream of," he added.

Others expressed frustration that the campaign was not relying on expertise within the HHS. Instead, the campaign contracted with a video firm run by a former business partner of Caputo. The firm has struggled to meet deadlines and retain staff, people involved with the campaign told Politico.

Still others at the HHS were upset that funds were being spent on a video campaign about the pandemic response rather than the pandemic response itself.

"This is a boondoggle," an HHS official who requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive department project, told Politico. "We're in the middle of a pandemic... we could use that quarter of a billion dollars on buying PPE [personal protective equipment], not promoting PSAs with C-list celebrities."

Trump ensures first presidential debate is national humiliationThe Guardian

 Neanderthal genes linked with severe COVID-19

A group of genes passed down from extinct human cousins is linked with a higher risk for severe COVID-19, researchers say. When they compared the genetic profiles of about 3,200 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and nearly 900,000 people from the general population, they found that a cluster of genes on chromosome 3 inherited from Neanderthals who lived more than 50,000 years ago is linked with 60% higher odds of needing hospitalization. People with COVID-19 who inherited this gene cluster are also more likely to need artificial breathing assistance, coauthor Hugo Zeberg of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology said in a news release. The prevalence of these genes varies widely, according to a report published on Wednesday in Nature. In South Asia, roughly 30% of people have them, compared to roughly one in six Europeans. They are almost non-existent in Africa and East Asia. While the study cannot explain why these particular genes confer a higher risk, the authors conclude, "with respect to the current pandemic, it is clear that gene flow from Neanderthals has tragic consequences." (

Top U.S. airlines starting 32,000 furloughs as bailout hopes fade

By Tracy Rucinski, David Shepardson

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American Airlines and United Airlines, two of the largest U.S. carriers, said they were beginning furloughs of over 32,000 workers on Thursday as hopes faded for a last-minute bailout from Washington.

Both airlines told employees, however, in memos seen by Reuters on Wednesday that they stood ready to reverse the furloughs, which affect about 13% of their workforces before the pandemic, if a deal was reached.

Tens of thousands of other employees at those airlines and others including Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have accepted buyouts or leaves of absence aimed at reducing headcount as carriers battle a health crisis that has upended the global travel industry.

U.S. airlines have been pleading for another $25 billion in payroll support to protect jobs for a further six months once the current package, which banned furloughs, expires at midnight EDT.

Earlier, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said talks with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi had made progress on a bipartisan aid plan, although no deal was reached and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief proposal “outlandish.”

In a memo to employees, American Chief Executive Doug Parker said Mnuchin told him that he and Pelosi were continuing to negotiate on a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package that would include an extension of aid for airlines and could reach an agreement in coming days.

“Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any of these efforts will come to fruition,” Parker said.

American will furlough 19,000 employees, including some 1,600 pilots. More than 13,000 United employees will be on furlough, but not any pilots following an agreement reached this week.

“Tomorrow, tens of thousands of essential aviation workers will wake up without a job or healthcare and tens of thousands more will be without a paycheck,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said in a statement that urged lawmakers to reach a deal.

Nick Calio, who heads the airline trade group Airlines for America, said earlier that the industry was still pursuing all potential avenues for new assistance as time runs short.

“People keep talking, but we need results,” Calio told Reuters. “We are hopeful but not confident about them reaching a deal on a larger bill.”

U.S. airline shares ended flat on Wednesday.

Weeks of intense airline lobbying has won over many but not all Washington lawmakers, while drawing attention to the plight of other pandemic-hit industries as the crisis persists.

U.S. airlines are operating about half their 2019 flying schedules and suffering a 68% decline in passenger volumes.

The impact of the coronavirus on travel may cost as many as 46 million jobs globally, according to projections published on Wednesday by the Air Transport Action Group.

Airlines have argued they need trained employees to help drive an economic recovery as the pandemic subsides. American Airlines’ Parker told CNN he believed one more round of aid would be sufficient.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Henderson and Peter Cooney

Up to 50,000 airline workers could lose their job tonight if Congress doesn't approve more aid

With just hours to go before mass layoffs decimate the airline industry slammed by coronavirus travel cutbacks, workers are pleading with Congress to pass a last-minute deal to save as many as 50,000 people from losing their paycheck.
© Provided by NBC News

“I feel like I’m being left behind and there’s nothing we can do. It’s extremely out of our hands, and we’re just sitting around terrified,” said Amanda Steinbrunn, a flight attendant who has been with United Airlines for five years.

She herself contracted Covid-19, recovered — and went on to help transport nurses and doctors. Last month the airline told her that she would "absolutely" be losing her job Oct. 1 if there was no extension passed to the payroll support program, she said. “I don’t have a backup plan. I’m going to be on the unemployment line like so many other people."

In May, Congress passed HEROES Act legislation that bailed out nearly 75 percent of the airline’s payroll expenses with $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans, with another $10 billion for cargo airlines, with the stipulation that airlines not let any workers go until Oct. 1. At stake are close to 50,000 jobs for pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers, counter agents and other airline and airport personnel.

It was expected that, by October, the U.S. would have had enough time to get the coronavirus under control and return to more typical travel and expenditure levels. However, garbled national guidance and inconsistent adherence to safety precautions squandered the bought time for travel and other industries.

Inconsistent adherence to safety precautions across the country has led to a spike in infections — squandering the bought time for travel and other industries waiting for an economic recovery.

Now, airline workers are hanging on for hopes of assistance from Congress to save their livelihoods.

“Without aid from the federal government, I will be laid off on October 1 and will lose my paycheck and my health insurance,” said Toni Valentine, who works for United Airlines Reservations in Detroit. “Hundreds of thousands of airline workers are facing financial ruin through no fault of our own. How will we take care of our families without a paycheck and health insurance?” she said.

After hitting rock bottom during coronavirus lockdowns, airline travel began to slowly rise again, but has plateaued well below previous year-over-year average levels. Despite new cleaning procedures from the airlines, passengers so far are largely unwilling to fly unless they have to, absent a safe and widely available vaccine.

Airlines have been feverishly negotiating with their labor unions and offering deals to employees to try to pursue all available options to reduce or delay costs and cuts, such as early retirement and long-term sabbaticals. Hard-hit commercial legacy carriers in particular have been under pressure.

United Airlines negotiated a deal with its pilot union to avoid furloughs until at least June 2021, but the rest of their workforce still faces furloughs, the company announced Monday. Last week, Delta announced it would delay furloughs until Nov. 1, allowing the airline more time to assess its financial situation. American Airlines is still on track to begin furloughs on Oct. 1 across its workforce.

“The airline industry and many of its employees are like Thelma and Louise, racing toward the abyss,” independent aviation analyst Bob Mann told NBC News in an email. “We've seen the movie. So, absent a rescue, we know the ending.”

But he said that reaching deeper into the government pockets to keep the industry afloat was well within the country’s interest.

“Does the nation want an airline industry ready to drive the economy when vaccines have been widely administered? If so, pay up, now, to keep the industry vital until then,” he said.

The critical national infrastructure that the airline industry provides — and that will be key to the nation's economic recovery — could be severely affected by the sweeping industry cuts, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told NBC News earlier this month. "We want to make sure that when the economy recovers, we are here."

Many airline hubs are located in swing states, so the proposed cuts are in areas President Donald Trump needs to win, come Nov. 3. That could put pressure on his Republican allies in Congress to make a deal with Democrats.

As Democrats and Republicans zero in on the terms for a potential new coronavirus relief package, this week the Treasury department closed major loans with seven of the country’s top airlines.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Tuesday that the administration does support further assistance for the airlines. “That's something that's critical to keep our airline workers,” he said. “Hopefully the airlines will postpone their actions.”

But he did not expect there would be a special carveout provision just for airlines. “There's a lot of support we've already delivered for that industry,” Mnuchin said.

Labor unions strongly urged Congress to step up.

“The Machinists Union stands shoulder to shoulder with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in their effort to get a coronavirus relief package passed for all Americans,” said Robert Martinez Jr., president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“It is an outrage that working families have already waited more than four months since the House passed the HEROES Act,” Martinez said. “The Machinists Union will do anything to support our membership and the tens of thousands of our airline members who will be laid off on Oct. 1.”

A major U.S. carrier could even be forced out of business, one industry leader cautioned earlier in the pandemic.

"I don't want to get too predictive on that subject. But yes, most likely," Boeing CEO David Calhoun said in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC's "TODAY" show in May, when asked if he thought a major U.S. carrier would have to go out of business.

"Something will happen when September comes around [and the aid expires]. Traffic levels will not be back to 100 percent. They won't even be back to 25 percent. So there will definitely be adjustments that have to be made on the part of the airlines," Calhoun said.

Bob Dylan - 1976 - Desire


Track listing Side one 1. "Hurricane" 2. "Isis" 3. "Mozambique" 4. "One More Cup of Coffee" 5. "Oh, Sister" Side two 1. "Joey" 2. "Romance in Durango" 3. "Black Diamond Bay" 4. "Sara" Desire is the seventeenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 5, 1976 by Columbia Records. It is one of Dylan's most collaborative efforts, featuring the same caravan of musicians as the acclaimed Rolling Thunder Revue tours the previous year (later documented on The Bootleg Series Vol. 5). Many of the songs also featured backing vocals by Emmylou Harris and Ronee Blakley. Most of the album was co-written by Jacques Levy, and is composed of lengthy story-songs, two of which quickly generated controversy: the 11-minute-long "Joey", which is seen as glorifying the violent gangster "Crazy Joey" Gallo, and "Hurricane", the opening track that tells a passionate account of the murder case against boxer Rubin Carter, whom the song asserts was framed. Carter was released in 1985, after a judge overturned his conviction on appeal. A well-received follow-up to Blood on the Tracks, Desire reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart for five weeks, becoming one of Dylan's bestselling studio albums, and was certified double Platinum; the album reached No. 3 in the UK. It claimed the No. 1 slot on NME Album of the Year. Rolling Stone named Desire No. 174 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It was voted number 761 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000) Personnel Bob Dylan – vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, piano on "Isis" Scarlet Rivera – violin Emmylou Harris – background vocals Rob Stoner – bass guitar, background vocals Howard Wyeth – drums, piano Dominic Cortese – accordion, mandolin Vinnie Bell – bouzouki Luther Rix – congas on "Hurricane" Ronee Blakley – background vocals on "Hurricane" Steven Soles – background vocals on "Hurricane" Eric Clapton – guitar on "Romance In Durango"[14]

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange bugged at Ecuadorian Embassy, including in the toilet, London court hears at extradition hearing

 Oct 01 2020

Current Time 0:54
Duration 0:54

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested and dragged out of embassy

Assange is wanted in the UK for breaching his conditions of bail in 2012 — his bail was granted amid a case that would see him extradited to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual assault.

Julian Assange's conversations in the latter part of his 7-year stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London were systematically bugged, even in the toilet, a London court heard on Wednesday.

In written statements at Assange's extradition hearing, two anonymous witnesses who worked for a Spanish firm with a security contract at the embassy said the WikiLeaks founder faced an intensifying bugging operation from 2017 onwards after Donald Trump became US president.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser on Tuesday granted the two witnesses anonymity amid fears for their safety. Lawyers acting on behalf of the US government did not contest the submission of the anonymous statements but said they were largely irrelevant to the matter under consideration in London's Old Bailey court.

The two witnesses alleged that David Morales, the director of Spanish security firm Undercover Global, switched to “the dark side'' and had instructed the installation of cameras with sophisticated audio capabilities to secretly record Assange's meetings at the embassy, particularly those with his lawyers.

Current Time 2:29
Duration 2:29

WikiLeaks founder Assange to fight US extradition bid in UK court

The hearing which was delayed due to coronavirus pandemic will resume on Monday and is due to run until early October.

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Assange lived in the embassy for seven years from 2012 after seeking refuge there while fearing his potential extradition to the US. He was evicted in April 2019 and has been in a London prison since.

The anonymous witnesses both claimed that Morales said the surveillance was initiated at the behest of “our American friends” and that he had been handsomely rewarded.

One of the witnesses said Morales travelled to Las Vegas around July 2016 to showcase the security firm and subsequently obtained a “flashy contract” with the Las Vegas Sands, which was owned by Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy associate of Trump's.

“After returning from one of his trips to the United States, David Morales gathered all the workers in the office in Jerez and told us that ‘We have moved up and from now on we will be playing in the big league,’” the witness said.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appears at the window before speaking on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, back in 2016.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appears at the window before speaking on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, back in 2016.

The other anonymous witness, who was employed as an IT expert from 2015, alleged that while in Jerez, the city in southern Spain where UC Global's had its headquarters, Morales had said in December 2017 that “the Americans were desperate''. The witness said a suggestion was made that “more extreme measures should be employed against the ‘guest' to put an end to the situation of Assange's permanence in the embassy''.

Specifically, the witness said the idea was raised for the door to the embassy being left open, “which would allow the argument that this had been an accidental mistake, which would allow persons to enter from outside the embassy and kidnap the asylee.'' There was, the witness claimed, even a suggestion that Assange could be poisoned.

“All of these suggestions Morales said were under consideration during his dealing with his contacts in the United States,'' the witness said.

The witness also alleged that Morales had asked him soon after to install a microphone in an extinguisher in an embassy meeting room, as well as in a toilet where Assange had been holding meetings due to concern he was the target of espionage.

“I used a nearby socket to conceal a microphone in a cable in the toilet in the back of the embassy,'' the witness said. “This was never removed, and may still be there.''

US prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks' publication of secret American military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

Supporters of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gather outside the Old Bailey on September 14, 2020 in London.
Supporters of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gather outside the Old Bailey on September 14, 2020 in London.

Assange's defence team says he is entitled to First Amendment protections for the publication of leaked documents that exposed US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They have also said he is suffering from wide-ranging mental health issues, including suicidal tendencies, that could be exacerbated if he ends up in inhospitable prison conditions in the US.

Assange's extradition hearing, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, is due


Canadians in £3bn hostile bid for 'deeply troubled G4S': Private equity-backed rival claims UK security giant needs new management

G4S has come under fire from a Canadian rival mounting a £3billion hostile takeover bid.

In its latest salvo, Garda World described the British security services group as a 'deeply troubled company' which needs fresh management to deal with 'scandals, crises and lawsuits'.

The private equity-backed firm stuck with its offer of 190p per share, despite the approach being unanimously rejected by the G4S board just over two weeks ago.

Garda World described G4S as a 'deeply troubled company' which needs fresh management to deal with 'scandals, crises and lawsuits'

Garda World described G4S as a 'deeply troubled company' which needs fresh management to deal with 'scandals, crises and lawsuits'

G4S yesterday urged investors to 'take absolutely no action in relation to the unattractive and opportunistic offer' and described its timing during the pandemic as 'highly opportunistic'.Share

But investors piled in, sending shares in the FTSE 250 firm surging above £2 for the first time since February, before the Covid-19 crisis triggered a rout on global stockmarkets. 

They are now up 37 per cent since news of the £3billion takeover bid emerged just over a fortnight ago.

In the coming days Garda World will start contacting G4S shareholders, which include fund manager Schroders and New York investment firm Sachem Head Capital Management.

A key part of its pitch will include accusations that G4S bosses have 'destroyed nearly £1billion of shareholder value' over the last seven years, spending hundreds of millions of pounds on restructuring programmes without managing to improve its margins.

But it will also warn that G4S 'remains dogged by scandals, crises and lawsuits' which could lead to 'further claims, provisions and contingent liabilities'.

And G4S is hampered by a £276million funding shortfall in its pension fund, Garda World said.

The firm's boss Stephan Cretier said: 'G4S is a deeply troubled business which needs a committed owner-operator team that understands the sector and has a definitive and comprehensive plan. 

'Stakeholders can take no confidence in the promises of a senior management team that has been in place for seven years and has not delivered.'

He added that the 'G4S board has behaved in a cavalier way by rejecting our potential offer out of hand'. 

The 190p a share offer amounts to a 31 per cent premium on the 145p that shares had been trading at just before the offer was initially made last month. 

David Buik, a veteran city commentator and consultant at Aquis Exchange, said: 'From a management perspective heading all the way back to the London Olympics in 2012, G4S has been a shambles. 

Garda World are prepared to pay a reasonable premium for it. I'd be very surprised if shareholders don't go for it.'

The Montreal-based firm – which is 51 per cent backed by London-based private equity giant BC Partners – said the deal would be funded with equity from BC Partners and loans from three banks. It has made several attempts to engage with the G4S board over the past three months.

The firm also made an approach last year but walked away without making an offer.

G4S employs around 533,000 people in more than 80 countries, including 25,000 in the UK.

It runs security and cash handling services, while also managing Covid test centres around the UK, and four prisons.

But it has been mired in scandal in recent years, such as failing to provide enough staff for the London 2012 Olympics.

G4S also landed itself in hot water after it emerged it had been overcharging taxpayers for tagging criminals, some of whom were dead or back in prison.

Over the summer it announced plans to cut 1,150 jobs, mainly in its cash handling business amid a move to online banking and digital payments.

Garda World employs more than 102,000 globally. It guards British embassies in places such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Somalia.