Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Do we support ATOS workers on strike ?

Normally i support all workers in struggle when up against the boss's but this latest strike has caused me difficulty and i'm not sure i can fully support the ATOS workers strike today. Being disabled and knowing many who have already been through assessments at the hands of ATOS i am just sickened by them the whole lot. People may say oh well its not the workers fault but that they have to do these assessments on some of the most in need people out there but i'd counter that by saying well they choose to work for ATOS and well what kind of person if you knew what ATOS were like and their reputation out there with disabled people and beyond would in their right mind take a job with them ? This dispute appears to be over pay this time though and Mark Serwotka the general secretary of the PCS union as i have published below claims these ATOS workers are hard working. This they may be but they are also inflicting pain and misery on many disabled people. The PCS again does not come out of this looking great i'm afraid. In a Union News Uk article "Around 2,000 PCS members working for ATOS are today on strike over a 2% pay rise at a time when their boss received a 14% rise and took home £2.3m. The French multinational company runs a number of privatised government contracts, including DWP medical examinations, National Savings, the Equitable Life compensation scheme and delivering IT support for customers such as the BBC. Staff working in healthcare have been offered a 2% rise; those working in IT services have been offered 2.8% in return for signing new terms and conditions that affect their annual leave. Last year Atos chief executive and chairman Thierry Breton was awarded a near 14% rise of £279,992, taking his total wage and reward package to £2,329,250. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said : ‘PCS members will take action unless they get a fair pay deal. If the company can afford a 14% pay rise for its chief executive it can afford to reward its low paid hard working staff fairly. “Our members are angry and determined. Like workers elsewhere they have seen the money in their pockets and purses reduce, whilst food costs, energy costs, transport costs soar. This must end. Our members are being asked to suffer austerity whilst the cream from the £1.6 billion government contracts that Atos hold is skimmed off for the bosses and shareholders of this multinational company” Today’s action is likely to be the first in a series of walkouts that will seriously affect the company’s ability to meet government service level agreements on all of the contracts where PCS organise. The union will also embark on a “work to rule” from the 6th November that will impact on the company’s performance. * In Derbyshire, Atos, which assesses the capability of disabled people for work, will this morning be the focus of a demonstration by Unite members over the way it treats its clients. Unite’s local community group will be staging a ‘United Nations’ stunt at the Atos Healthcare Chesterfield Assessment Centre at Lordsmill Street, Chesterfield S41 7RW at 10.30am when a UN land rover with lights flashing will arrive to start ‘the probe’. Investigators, flanked by men and women in the trademark blue berets, will conduct ‘an investigation into alleged human rights abuses’. Unite community activist Colin Hampton, who is organising the demo, said “Many citizens in north Derbyshire have complained about their treatment at the hands of Atos which carries out the work capability assessments (WCAs). “A number of people, who have stories to tell of their treatment at the Lordsmill offices, will be there to give their testimony. The ‘investigators’ will attempt to question management and staff to ascertain the extent of the alleged abuses due to the implementation of government policy.” The Unite community group is also calling for a conference to be held in Chesterfield, early in the New Year to gather further evidence and propose changes to the current policy and systems, with the aim of restoring dignity to the sick, the disabled, and those that are out of work. " with thanks to http://union-news.co.uk/2013/11/atos-workers-living-wage-turn-heat-boss-claiming-2-3m/

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