A group of UK local authority funds has backed a call for transport group National Express to address “systemic and longstanding” issues with its human capital management procedures.

Three of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum’s (LAPFF) members – the £12.4bn (€14.6bn) Greater Manchester Pension Fund, the London Borough of Islington scheme and the fund of Nottinghamshire County Council – are co-sponsoring a resolution drawn up by the US-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters that calls for changes to the UK-listed firm’s policies.

It calls for the company’s board to “expand the role and responsibilities of its Safety and Environment Committee” and adopt what a joint statement by the union and LAPFF deems a “meaningful and enforceable” human rights policy.

Kieran Quinn, chairman of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and a councillor in Tameside, said: “LAPFF members are long-term investors and believe that effective management of human capital is crucial to delivering sustainable returns.

“Employees who feel their rights are respected, and are offered a good deal by their employer, are more likely to stick by the company and do a good job,” he added.

“We’re not convinced National Express is getting this right currently, and we are filing this resolution so shareholders can give the board a clear mandate to address these risks to the value of the company and its sustainability.”

His views were shared by Ken Hall, general secretary of the union.

“The problems at National Express in North America are systemic and longstanding, and the board’s inaction has gone on long enough,” he said.

Hall said “poor morale” was festering among board members and increasing safety risks “in an industry where safety is most critical”.

The three LAPFF members backing the motion jointly hold 3m shares in National Express.