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Comment - Social Justice

Say No to Veolia! by Bill Linton.

Veolia is a French company (but we don't hold that against them!) with interests in many countries in transport, waste and water supply. It is amongst the short-listed bidders for the multi-billion pound contracts which the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) will be handing out in the next few months. Veolia is also part of a consortium which built and is now operating the Jerusalem Light Tramway System (JLTS) - and that we do hold against them.

The JLTS connects parts of Jerusalem with some of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The existence of those settlements is contrary to international law, the 4th Geneva Convention (which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own civilian population into occupied territory) and a number of UN resolutions. It has been condemned by the International Court of Justice. The JLTS consolidates the existence of the illegal settlements and the cantonisation of the Palestinians.

As a further slap in the face for liberal opinion, the adverts for jobs on the JLTS were essentially racist, requiring Hebrew to mother-tongue standard and a record of service in the armed forces - qualifications hardly any Palestinian would be able to meet. To racism they add sexism, with separate (and slower) ticket windows for women.

Veolia also operates four bus services connecting the settlements to Jerusalem, and was until recently operating a landfill site at Tovlan in the OPT for the benefit of one of the settlements.

There are powerful campaigns against Veolia operating in most or all of the places where it is seeking contracts, including those with the NLWA. Enfield Green Party is signed up to the No2Veolia Action Group, and I have been personally active in it. The outcome of the NLWA campaign is still uncertain, but campaigns elsewhere have hurt the company and its share price has plummeted. [It fell 50% between May and September 2011! Dcf.] Veolia has been forced to announce its withdrawal from 37 countries but, weirdly, Israel isn't one of them.

For more information see http://hackneypsc.wordpress.com/no-to-veolia-in-north-london/

Or, on a related issue, see David Flint's opinion on the NLWA's proposed Pinkham Way plant

First published in the EGP members newsletter, October 2011

[Update: On 21.12.2012 Veolia withdrew from the bidding process for the NLWA contracts - a stunning victory for the No2Veolia campaign!]

Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ