Security firm G4S fell short at Olympics, US bases in South Korea
SEOUL — The international security company in the world spotlight for its failure to provide enough guards for the London Olympics is the same company that failed to fully staff gate guard positions on U.S. bases in South Korea earlier this year.
The company, G4S, has agreed to reimburse the British government for the cost of deploying thousands of British military personnel to provide security during the Games — estimated to be as much as $78 million. It has also agreed to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of manning gates with American troops.
The 8th Army would not divulge how much G4S would pay.
G4S, based in Britain, took over gate security at most U.S. Army installations on the Korean Peninsula in December 2011, but could not hire enough guards to do the job. Most who worked for the previous security provider, Joeun Systems Corp., refused to work for the new firm, claiming G4S offered lower pay and longer hours.
The military closed or limited hours at some gates and had soldiers temporarily man others until the company reached full staffing in March.
Eighth Army spokesman Col. Andrew Mutter would not disclose the number of guards eventually hired by G4S, but he said the company has hired “a workforce of sufficient strength to meet the government’s requirements.” A G4S spokesman previously said the company needed more than 600 guards for USFK bases.
“G4S is in substantial compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract,” Mutter said in response to questions about whether there had been additional problems with the company and if the military was satisfied with G4S’ performance.
U.S. officials have previously valued the five-year contract with G4S at $109 million.
In London, G4S has estimated its losses for the Olympics at 35 million to 50 million pounds, the equivalent of $54 million to $78 million.