Campaigners are calling on the University to cut its ties with a controversial contractor allegedly involved in Israeli human rights abuses.

The ‘Cambridge Bin Veolia’ campaign is seeking to force the termination of the University’s contract with French environmental services company Veolia, which it currently employs on a waste disposal contract.

A referendum will be held amongst students from 21-24 October to determine if CUSU should add its weight to the campaign and officially call for a boycott of the firm on behalf of its members.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a national pressure group which campaigns against some actions of the Israeli government, alleges that Veolia is “helping to build and operate a tramway linking illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with Israel”.

It also alleges that the multinational “has been supporting illegal settlements by taking their refuse at its Tovlan landfill site.”

The ‘Cambridge Bin Veolia’ campaign also claimed in a press release that the firm “has lost contracts worth more than €10 billion since 2005, including, just a few months ago, a £300 million contract in Ealing.”

A public meeting in support of the referendum has been scheduled for 18 October at 5:15pm, in the Union Blue Room. Rafeef Ziadah, from the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, and Ronnie Barkan, from the Israeli group Boycott from Within, are expected to speak, amongst others.

Owen Holland, a student at St Catherine's College, said: “Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not only illegal, but they have serious daily impact on Palestinian communities including land and property theft and destruction, settler violence, and restricted movement within Palestine. It's outrageous that the University is contracting with a company that supports the settlements, and students should vote to break those ties.”

Daniel Benjamin, a student at Trinity College, said: “The University claims that its contracts are free from politics, but in contracting with Veolia, the University is very much involved in the Israeli occupation. It's naïve to pretend otherwise. Now Cambridge has a chance to own up to its involvement and break its ties with the occupation.”