This week saw an important and encouraging development in the ongoing resistance to welfare reforms and austerity: a national day of action, largely organised by claimants themselves with little input from any larger permanent organisation, was successful in provoking Atos, the unpopular “healthcare” company that assesses disability benefits, into announcing their intention to pull out of the Work Capacity Assessment. Given the generally poor state of the class struggle at the moment, a win on this scale is a rare thing, definitely worth taking notice of. Apart from anything else, it’s worth examining the claimant-led protests against Atos just to see how far they differ from business as usual on the left.
The anti-Atos protests – which probably reached their high point in Southend, where Atos staff apparently walked out and joined the protestors, but also managed to close a number of other offices including Wimbledon – lack a…
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Photo: Atos National Demo
Yesterday (Wednesday 19th February 2014) was the day Atos offices across the UK were targeted by a day of demonstration, and yet there is no mention on any of the mainstream press!
The demonstration started in Leeds at 8am, where activists gathered together with a giant inflatable rat and sound system – united in protesting against the Work Capability Assessment Atos administers on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions, and the resulting number of deaths of claimants as a direct result of Atos’ incompetent decisions.
Other demonstrations took place across an estimated 94 other locations, although this number is constantly growing as the movement has been an autonomous non-hierarchical grass roots campaign from the outset many campaign and community groups have organised events independently.
The demonstration taking place at the London HQ of ATOS included talks from campaigners Ian Jones from War on…
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Yet the death toll linked to the horrific Atos run Work Capability Assessment grows ever higher with a spate of tragic suicides reported throughout December. Life is cheap under neo-liberalism and neither the Tory Party, or Labour – who merely say they will replace Atos but the assessments will continue – are opposed to this terrible regime facing sick and disabled claimants.
Barely any of those found ‘fit for work’ by Atos have actually found jobs, despite Iain Duncan Smith’s magical Work Programme. The number of successful appeals against decisions made to throw people off benefits remains sky high. The stress and suffering caused by Atos is more than well documented by hundreds, if not…
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