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AGM protest: BAE Systems, Shell, Serco

BAE Systems

As Campaign Against Arms Trade reports....

BAE Systems is the 4th biggest arms company in the world. Each year it sells around £11 billion of arms around the globe.

These weapons are sold indiscriminately to a wide customer base - to regimes with appalling human rights records, regions involved in devastating conflicts, and impoverished countries with huge development needs.

CAAT holds a number of 'token shares' in BAE Systems which enables them to attend the company's Annual General Meeting and challenge it about its deadly trade. In May 2006, around 40 CAAT supporters attended the AGM and dominated questions to the company's board members on a number of issues.

Supporters challenged the company on its continued contribution to conflict and human rights abuses around the world - particularly by supplying arms and services to Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. One shareholder highlighted the fact that around 80% of victims in conflict are civilians; another asked the chair directly whether he empathised with victims who have been maimed or killed by BAE products.

The Chairman, Dick Olver, replied by saying that he believe that 'BAE supplies products to make the world a safer place' and that 'the people in the company are proud of their contribution to stability in the world'.>

Shell

As Peace News/ noisy Joe reports ...

Shell AGM main meeting took place in The Hague , with a video feed to London or the Novotel Hammersmith, to be precise.

As the meeting was taking place in The Hague, and the only board member present in London was the rather abandoned-seeming Chair of Shell UK James Smith, there was really no heckling to be done that could have reached the ears of those assembled in The Hague, so I sat through interminable questions about whether the management war overpaying itself in order to have a chance to take the microphone for some gratuitous ranting of my own.

Actually, before I had my turn there were some good interventions from members of communities living right next highly polluting and dangerous refineries and other facilities in countries like the US, South Africa, Nigeria and the Philippines. They exposed the sham of Shell's 'good neighbour' policy, but unfortunately seemed keen only to work with Shell to sort out their particular problems, and didn't take the opportunity to call for a turning away from oil and gas production for the sake of the long-term future of the planet.

Hours into the meeting , I finally stood up and said something like "We've been hearing today from the CEO about the company's commitment to expanding massively its production of oil and gas, which is absolute antithesis of sustainability"

Serco

As Peace News reports...

The British "facilities management " company continues to expand their "public service" PFI portfolio and rake in the cash from nuclear weapons, detention centres, and hospitals.

This year Aldermaston Women were joined by women involved in supporting asylum seekers.

There were somevery fine questions this year. One "normal" shareholder even commented that the "board seem hostile to shareholders" and asked how many people they ussually eject from meetings!

A peace flag procession inside the AGM made an impact. Outside, a long supporter was pounced on by SOCPA -notice-wielding plice within minutes of starting his oneman -with-placard protest.