Tower Hamlets Council has agreed to consider a local petition demanding G4S be disqualified from future contracts in the borough.
A coalition of organisations gathered in front of the council building with a petition signed by nearly 2,000 people. They chanted slogans in support of Palestine accusing G4S of: “far reaching complicity with the illegal occupation.”
Tower Hamlets Palestine Solidarity Campaign (TPS) said: “In the occupied West Bank, G4S provides security systems for Israeli prisons, equipment for military checkpoints and security services for illegal settlements.”
Both Tower Hamlets First and the ruling Labour Party have agreed to look into the campaign’s demands but, before any steps can be taken to create a tighter ethical procurement policy, more meetings will need to take place.
Tashin Ahmed of Tower Hamlets Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who started the petition against G4S, said: “We challenged Tower Hamlets Council to improve its procurement process to enable it to exclude companies which are guilty of grave misconduct in Palestine.”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign hopes a new ethical procurement policy would see an end to further contracts with G4S, Veolia and other companies who they believe are profiting from illegal occupation of Palestine.
G4S currently operates caretaking and school maintenance in 20 Tower Hamlet schools. Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reported that the council uses G4S services for its ‘Signs of Safety’ child protection-training course in Mile End.
Tower Hamlets and Veolia’s previous partnership brought recycling bins for books to the borough. However, there was much controversy over the intentions behind this scheme. The company supplies street cleaning and waste services, too.
If an ethical procurement policy were agreed by the council future contracts covering these services could be affected.
Sybil Cock of Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association and Tower Hamlets PSC said: “We will continue to work to challenge the existing contracts and sponsorship deals with these unethical policies until they completely divest from business with the Israeli occupation.
Tower Hamlets PSC will meet with Councillor Alibor Choudhury to discuss further actions.