Friday, 18 November 2011

Capita woes: for how much longer can they slip under the radar?

There's a vast area of economic life that goes unmolested by the anti-cuts, anti-corporate campaign crowd and that is the multi-national companies (MNCs) bidding to run public services. Companies such as Capita, Serco, who are bidding to run council services even here in our own fair Barnet, don't make easy targets because they are not household names.

I am involved with a campaign called No Sweat which campaigns against sweatshop labour, mostly in what are quaintly called developing countries. Someone got in touch recently saying did we want to help make a film for schoolchildren looking at the ethical record of MNCs. Yes, we said, who are you interested in? Primark is taken, they said, would you do Apple? Hm, yes, we can do Apple, I said; but how about doing Capita? Not interested, they said. The kids won't have heard of them.

You see, it doesn't matter how big and unaccountable you are, how fiercely you exploit your workforce, etc. If you haven't got a coveted label and you aren't for sale on the high street, you evade scrutiny, slip under the radar. Phew!

Well, I am on a mission to get more people to look at Capita and their like. In my view, they are getting away with too much.

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