NO 2 Veolia in North London!

LATEST AMAZING VICTORY FOR LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS AGAINST CORPORATE COMPLICITY IN WAR CRIME!!

On 21st December it was announced that Veolia has WITHDRAWN its bid from North London’s waste bids!!!  This represents a massive success for determined campaigners over two years.  Huge thanks to all the participants and supporters.

NLWA announcement.

NO 2 Veolia Action Group press release.

Electronic intifada announce the news.

Hackney Citizen article.

Mondoweiss article.

Previous coverage..

BBC London programme, listen at 2 hours 48 minutes in.

Hackney Gazette December 13th article, turn to page 5, reveals the influences at play in the blocking of Hackney resident Caroline Day’s deputation about Veolia.

Caroline lodged a complaint after her deputation was blocked at Hackney Town Hall and it was revealed that a pro-Israel group UK Lawyers for Israel was behind the motion that blocked her, the story was also reported in East London Lines and Occupy News.  The secrecy and obfuscation surrounding the process of selecting the waste contractor reached front page local news in Islington and press in Camden prompting Councillor Loakes to get flustered.

Concerns about Veolia’s North London Waste contract bid were raised more intensively in local press regarding the many serious issues including questions about secrecy in the Camden press surrounding the bid and decision-making process and the letter sent by UN representative Richard Falk to councillors urging them not to sleepwalk local authorities into breaches of international law which is reported in both Hackney , Enfield and Waltham Forest press, also listed below.  Coverage has been prominent in Hackney following the refusal of local councillors to hear the arguments of local residents, see previous report in online news network Occupy News and the following articles:

Camden New Journal

Hackney Gazette

Enfield Advertiser

Waltham Forest Guardian

Professor Richard Falk UN Rapporteur on Palestinian territories urges NLWA not to contract Veolia.   http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/richard-falk-urges-london-waste-authority-not-award-contracts-israeli-settlement 

More information at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/No2VAG/

Canterbury selected a different bidder effectively excluding Veolia from the £40 million contract.  Local campaigners conducted a thorough  and determined campaign against Veolia’s bid.  Congratulations! http://www.dumpveolia.org.uk/uncategorized/press-release-against-expectation-canterbury-dumps-veolia/

Previous news.. http://londonprogressivejournal.com/article/view/927/novags-request-falls-on-deaf-ears

Parliamentary question May 23rd 2012:  Councillors needed to know the government’s response to a Parliamentary question on 23rd May 2012 about preventing public procurement of goods and services from illegal settlements in Palestine. The written reply clarified that 2006 Public Contracts Regulations provide for the exclusion of companies from government tenders on grounds of “grave professional misconduct in the course of their business or profession” and linked this regulation with illegal settlements, http://tinyurl.com/chm3mse.

We believe Veolia’s operations in infrastructure service for illegal settlements constitute grave professional misconduct and they should be excluded from our waste and water contracts.  NLWA covers the London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest

Campaigners used this template letter to contact councillors.

ACTION for your MP: EDM 2717
Don’t forget to ensure your MP signs EDM 2717 [so far signed by 76 MPs]:
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2717

Our leaflet outlines the main arguments against selection of Veolia, you can download it here, the text is also at the bottom of this page.

Your North London councillors who are involved in decision-making about Veolia’s bid to process waste in North London:

Cllr Melvin Cohen <cllr.m.cohen@barnet.gov.uk>

Cllr Brian Coleman has been removed from his position following alleged assault but was previously on the authority board <cllr.b.coleman@barnet.gov.uk>

Cllr Sean Birch <sean.birch@camden.gov.uk>

Cllr Sarah Hayward <sarah.hayward@camden.gov.uk>

Cllr Andrew Stafford <andrew.stafford@enfield.gov.uk>

Cllr Chris Murphy <chris.murphy@enfield.gov.uk>

Cllr Samantha Lloyd <samantha.lloyd@hackney.gov.uk>

Cllr Feryal Demirci <feryal.demirci@hackney.gov.uk>

Cllr Nilgun Canver <nilgun.canver@haringey.gov.uk>

Cllr George Meehan <george.meehan@haringey.gov.uk>

Cllr Richard Greening <richard.greening@islington.gov.uk>

Cllr Paul Smith <paul.smith@islington.gov.uk>

Cllr Clyde Loakes <Cllr.Clyde.Loakes@walthamforest.gov.uk>

Cllr Afzal Akram <Cllr.Afzal.Akram@walthamforest.gov.uk>

Cllr Richard Cornelius <cllr.r.cornelius@barnet.gov.uk>

Cllr Nasim Ali <nasim.ali@camden.gov.uk>

Cllr Doug Taylor <doug.taylor@enfield.gov.uk>

Cllr Ian David Sharer <ian.sharer@hackney.gov.uk>

Cllr Claire Kober <claire.kober@haringey.gov.uk>

Cllr Catherine.West <Catherine.west@islington.gov.uk>

Cllr Chris Robbins <leader@walthamforest.gov.uk>

More on Veolia…

In another example of Veolia’s disregard to the safety of its employees in the UK it was fined £130,000 after a worker was killed when a 1,100-litre recycling bin fell on his head:
http://www.hazards.org/greenjobs/blog/2010/02/23/serial-offender-fined-after-recycling-bin-death/

Supporters of the campaign are growing.  In September 2011 the Justice and Peace Commission of Westminster recently issued a statement calling on London boroughs to stop doing business with Veolia.  Veolia’s response to this call was misleading and evasive, as pointed out by the Justice and Peace Commission spokesman in a subsequent article.

JOIN US NOW:
email: novag@hotmail.co.uk
call: 07880 731 865
Links to further information:  www.electronicintifada.net
 Who Profits from the Occupation www.whoprofits.org
 Corporate Watch www.corporatewatch.org.uk
 The Civic Coalition for Defending Palestinians Rights in Jerusalem www.ccdprj.ps
Veolia comes under pressure across the world, see efforts to draw attention to it in a bid in City of Davis, USA.

Further concerns about Veolia
Not only is Veolia complicit in flagrant breaches of international law and war crimes but also has been accused of worsening workers conditions after they unionised.
It has also been reported that a Jerusalem Light Railway ticket stand run by CityPass had implemented a discriminatory practice against women.
Accounting fraud was discovered by Veolia to the tune of €90 million between 2007-2010 in its US operations.
 Its decreasing  financial performance and share price decline are also of concern to local authorities considering a long term partner.
A number of accidents and cases involving Veolia have been documented by a campaign group against incinerators.
Leaflet text:

WHO is Veolia?

Veolia is a multinational company operating in water management, waste management, transport and energy services which holds and bids for large and long-term contracts with local authorities in the UK and across the world.  They are currently bidding for North London Waste Authority 30 year waste processing contract worth billions of pounds.

WHY say no?

Veolia and its subsidiary companies are working the Occupied Territories of Palestine on infrastructure projects for illegal settlements and in so doing are complicit in Israel’s crimes under international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva convention articles 49 and 53, the Hague Conventions 1897 and 1907 and contrary to six UN Security Council Resolutions.

Security Council resolution 465 unanimously:

“Calls upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories.”

Veolia is complicit in supporting Israel to break international law in the Occupied Territories of Palestine by servicing transport and waste agreements for illegal Israeli settlements in the following ways:

  • Veolia was a lead partner in the Citi-pass consortium which constructed the Jerusalem Light Railway specifically linking illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with West Jerusalem.
  • Veolia will assist in running the Jerusalem Light Railway and its discriminatory operational recruitment campaign excludes Palestinians by requiring candidates to speak Hebrew as mother-tongue and past military/ civic service.  Past military/ civic service discriminates against Palestinians both in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as those living in Israel because they do not serve as conscripts; civic duties are managed by bodies directing work almost entirely within Jewish communities.
  • Veolia subsidiary Connex runs two bus services which use roads linking illegal West Bank settlements built on Palestinian land.
  • Veolia subsidiary TMM has been operating the Tovlan landfill site which processes waste from illegal settlements and is located in occupied territory, Veolia continues in a consultancy role to the current owners – the illegal settlement itself.

Illegal settlements by Israel in the Occupied Territories are not only illegal they also have a serious daily impact on Palestinian communities close to where they are sited including:

  • land and property theft and destruction
  • reduced water supply
  • reduced access to farm land
  • settler destruction of crops
  • restricted movement of Palestinians hindering access to health, education and social resources
  • increased risk of violence against civilians
  • pollution of Palestinian land with settlement sewage.

WHY does it matter to the UK?

  • The Foreign Office states:

“Attempts by Israel to alter the character or demography of East Jerusalem are unacceptable and extremely provocative.  Settlements, as well as the evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem are illegal.”

  • Alistair Burt, U.K. Minister for The Middle East, speaking while on a recent visit to The West Bank, declared:

“Our position on settlements is generally well known. We hold settlements to be illegal in the Occupied Territories.

  • UK is a High Contracting party to the Geneva Conventions which means:

“Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention”

  • The Security Council:

“calls upon all states not to provide assistance to be used in connection with settlements in the Occupied Territories”

WHY my local authority?

Under the Public Services Regulations (2006) specific section Regulation 23(4)(e) states that:

  • the Council can “treat an economic operator as ineligible or decide not to select an economic operator” on the grounds of grave misconduct.

Is complicity in breaches of international humanitarian law and UN Security Council resolutions grave misconduct?

It seems likely that it would not accord with any of the responsibilities of states, either at central or local government level, as outlined by international convention and UN Security Council if they were to award a contract to a company that had provided assistance to illegal settlements.

WHAT to do now?

Veolia is currently a preferred bidder for the North London Waste Authority 30 year waste processing contract.

As UK taxpayers we demand that our council tax is not used to pay a company complicit in breaking Israel’s flagrant breaches of international law.

If you think it is WRONG or ILLEGAL for the North London Waste Authority to be considering awarding this significant and substantial contract to Veolia for the reasons outlined above please:

  • Join the NO 2 Veolia Action Group
  • Raise your concerns with your local councillor about the award at their regular surgery
  • Write to the councillor from your borough who represents you on the North London Waste Authority committee stating your views