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Week of Action Against Atos Origin - Call for Solidarity .

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claimantsfightback
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Apr 28 2011 11:25
Week of Action Against Atos Origin - Call for Solidarity .

Disability activists and benefit claimant's groups are calling for protests and actions around the country targetting Atos Origin in the week beginning on 9th May.

Previous days of action against benefit cuts have seen protests, pickets and occupations of Atos Origin across the UK including London, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dundee and many more.

Now claimants are calling for a week of announced and unannounced protests as well as a week long international virtual protest against Atos.

Atos Origin have a £500 million contract with the Con-dem Government to carry out ‘work capability assessments’ on all of those claiming Incapacity Benefit.

It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible.

This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GP’s are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin’s computer. People have already committed suicide due to the decisions made by Atos.

Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance have also revealed that this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

To date around 40% of appeals against Atos Origin’s decisions have been successful.

Please organise and help us spread the word!

Details of all events plus links to the locations of Atos' offices can be found at: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121624627914913&index=1

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thegonzokid
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Apr 28 2011 23:57

Liverpool picket

Assemble in The Plaza, Old Hall Street, at 11.30am on Monday 9th May. Bring flags, banners, and placards.

More info here.

claimantsfightback
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May 4 2011 10:16

Latest News: Please help spread the word and organise locally

Birmingham

Thursday, May 12 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Unison offices, 19th floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway. B4 7NN
Public Meeting: Benefit Cuts: Who are they targeting? How can we stop them? – called by DPAC and Right To Work

Then on Friday May 13th at noon outside Waterstones bookshop opposite bull statue in Bullring centre join them for leafleting and street theatre ‘ The Computer Says NO’ an adaptation of a Brighton Benefit Campaign play.

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/birmingham-actions-against-atos-may-1213/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169640809755894

Bristol

After a previous successful demonstration outside ATOS, Flowers Hill, voicing our dissent at the way this Government is attacking the most vulnerable in our society and using ATOS as a way of doing it, we are asking you join us for another demonstration between 3.30-5.30 Thursday 12th May 2011 outside ATOS, Flowers Hill, Brislington.

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/bristol-atos-protest-thursday-12th-may/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=158658667531464


Cardiff

Monday, May 9 · 12:30pm - 3:30pm
Disability Benefits Building, St Agnes Street, Gabalfa, Cardiff

As part of the National Week of Action against Benefit Cuts and Atos Origin kicking off on Monday 9th of May, we will be staging a protest outside the Disability Benefits Building at St. Agnes road, Gabalfa, Cardiff.

Bring music, drums, banners, placards, snacks to share and brighten up the faceless corporate wasteland that is the Benefits Building!

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/cardiff-day-of-action-against-benefit-cuts-9th-april/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=171127669607093&ref=mf

Manchester - Wednesday, May 11 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Albert Bridge House, Bridge Street, Manchester
Called by Manchester Coalition Against Cuts. If your organisation would like to support this demonstration please contact: coalitionagainstcuts@gmail.com

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/manchester-benefits-protest-planning-meetings-28th-april/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=145587872178552

Liverpool - Picket Atos Origin

Monday, May 9 · 11:30am - 2:30pm

Atos Origin, The Plaza, Old Hall Street, Liverpool

As part of this week of action, Liverpool Solidarity Federation are calling for all those who stand in support of disabled people to join us in a picket of their offices in Liverpool the same day.

Assemble in The Plaza, Old Hall Street, at 11.30am on Monday 9th May. Bring flags, banners, and placards.

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/liverpool-picket-atos-9th-may/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160068340719677

London - Party and Protest in Triton Square

Monday, May 9 - 2pm

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/picnic-and-party-against-atos-origin-part-2/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=194299250612882&

Plymouth

Monday, May 9 - 10am
Plymouth Claimants Union will be demonstrating outside the Atos Origin , Argosy House , Marsh Mills , medical centre in Plymouth from 10.00 am Monday 9th May. Free transport from city centre. Cntact plymouthclaimantsunion@yahoo.co.uk

Everywhere!

International Week of Virtual Protest Against Atos Origin

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/international-week-of-virtual-protest-against-atos-origin/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144607022276752

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Between Your Teeth
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May 7 2011 00:06

Nottingham

Day of action against ATOS origin and Office Angels / Adecco

Monday 9th May, 11am

Nottingham Anarchist Federation is answering the call out for a day of action against these two companies

Pickets will be held outside Office Angels’ recruitment agency to demand the payment of wages unfairly withheld from a worker.

Afterwards we’ll move onto the ATOS Healthcare medical assessment centre to show solidarity with Incapacity Benefit claimants and protest against ATOS profiting from the administration of unfair tests and the kicking of claimants off benefits.

Meet at 11am outside Office Angels (located in the city centre past the right lion. Next door to MAC and opposite The Square bar/club)

Angel House,
12-13 Cheapside,
City Centre,
Nottingham,
NG1 2HU

Bring banners, placards, flags and noisy stuff

Map: http://tinyurl.com/6xlpdn2

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=221270991217017

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shug
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May 6 2011 22:32

EDINBURGH
Monday 9th May
11am outside ATOS 44 York Place

Leaflet below being handed out in Edinburgh

ATOS PROFITS
WHILE THE SICK AND DISABLED SUFFER.

The last Labour government replaced Incapacity Benefit with Employment Support Allowance, and introduced a harsh new ‘medical’ test to hack back the number of qualifying claimants. It appointed ATOS, a French IT company, to carry out these ‘medical’ assessments. The ConDem government has enthusiastically pushed forward Labour’s attack on the sick and disabled – and is paying ATOS half a billion pounds for a 7 year contract.
Meanwhile, a convenient media campaign to con the public into believing that the benefit system is full of ‘scroungers’ has been stoked up as pilot schemes in Aberdeen and Burnley magically found 70% of ESA claimants ‘fit for work’. These schemes are now being rolled out nationwide – happy news for ATOS shareholders if not for Britain’s sick and vulnerable. But so many claimants are failing assessments because the ATOS computer test is so stringent and mismanaged that seriously ill people are regularly being declared fit for work. The Citizens Advice Bureau’s chief executive has written that “seriously ill and disabled people are being severely let down by the crude approach”, while in February, The Herald newspaper reported the deaths of two sick claimants waiting for their appeals against the loss of benefits due to their being ‘fit for work.’
ATOS routinely ignores the evidence and opinions of doctors, consultants and psychiatrists, while their own doctors and nurses, who sit ticking boxes on a computer as they follow a rigid, inflexible series of questions, are ‘incentivised’ to find people fit for work. (Concern at the role of ATOS doctors has been expressed in the BMJ, and the Royal College of Nursing has refused to accredit ATOS’s nurse training). And they and ATOS get paid even though they are clearly often wrong. 40% of appeals against their decisions are won, rising to 70% of appeals where the claimant has had legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau, while Edinburgh Council’s Rights Office has found success for 8 or 9 out of every 10 Appeal Tribunals they’ve attended. (These appeals cost the tax-payer money, £8 million in 2009/2010 alone – but ATOS, of course, doesn’t have to pay back for getting it wrong.) What we reject absolutely is the State’s claim that those who didn’t appeal are somehow accepting that they didn’t deserve to be on incapacity benefits. The truth is that many of these claimants are, by the nature of their illnesses/incapacities, lacking the resources (confidence, articulateness, motivation, energy, awareness etc) that they need to appeal. And of course, appealing depends on some level of understanding of what procedures are available and how to access them – something that the deliberately complex benefit system militates against.
These assessments have nothing to do with the sympathetic care and support of the sick and needy that should be the mark of a civilised society , and everything to do with making the vulnerable pay for a crisis that was none of their making. The process is being driven purely by targets to slash welfare spending. Citizens Advice Scotland in a 2010 report wrote “Our evidence has highlighted the cases of many clients with serious health conditions who have been found fit for work, including those with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, bipolar disorder, heart failure, strokes, severe depression and agoraphobia.”
Meanwhile Britain’s wealthy – including the bankers whose greed triggered the crisis – rake in the profits and bonuses. And while the state and its friends in the media demonise poverty-struck claimants as “fraudsters”, it allows billionaire big business to avoid and evade tax on a massive scale.
Throughout this week, health professionals, disablement campaign groups, disabled claimants and ordinary citizens, united in their dismay and disgust over what is happening in Britain, are campaigning against ATOS and the state’s appalling attacks on the vulnerable and needy amongst us. Please join us.
This leaflet produced by:
Black Triangle
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty
ecap@lists.riseup.net
See www.edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk for advice on how to deal with ATOS benefits medical examinations: never go alone, take a friend or adviser with you to any ATOS test.

Hinnys on Holidays
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May 7 2011 23:53

What in the way of materials/support do groups have in mind for the assessment centre pickets? Excluding Edinburgh and Brighton, which are quite clear.
I had sort of productive talk with a few assessees last I was down at the local Atos office, but apart from a cut-down adaptation of what I think was one of the earlier handouts from Edinburgh, had little collective confidence building and contructive to put forward. That is other than suggesting contact with the local claimants' union and anticuts organisation. What are the aims of the contingents to the small less visible assessment places, say Nottingham?

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shug
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May 8 2011 10:22

There was a decent Aufheben article :-
http://libcom.org/library/aufheben/pamphlets-articles/stop-the-clock-critiques-of-the-new-social-workhouse/unemployed-recalcitrance-and-welfare-re
- that points out the problems with claimant organisation, and the dangers of slipping into purely social-workery roles.
Worth keeping in mind that ATOS represents not just an attack on claimants, but an attack on DWP staff, too, as more and more of their jobs are being taken over by private vultures like ATOS, A4E etc. - so a leaflet something like the one below and handed out to staff may be useful. We're seeing leftists making more and more noise about 'Stop the Cuts' - and loudly, clearly and often we want to be saying that these attacks were being planned and carried out by the Labour Government with the active collusion of the unions that are now pretending to be on our side.

This leaflet was handed out recently:

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty is a voluntary organisation which exists to give advice and support to claimants. Given this Government’s (and the previous Labour Government’s) attack on welfare payments behind an increasingly hysterical media campaign about Benefit Fraud (with, of course, silence about tax fraud and evasion), things are becoming increasingly difficult for claimants. But they are also becoming increasingly difficult for DWP staff, too. Media hysteria is also being directed against public sector workers and their supposed gold-plated conditions and pensions. We, like you, know the reality. Pensions are very far from gold-plated, retirement age is being extended, wages are being frozen, conditions of service are steadily worsening, and target-obsessed management with their endless drivel about ‘excellence’ and ‘quality assurance’ are cranking up pressure on staff, often with the connivance of the unions. Meanwhile privatisation of your jobs is clearly coming, as private companies like A4E, Ingeous, JHP etc are increasing being sub-contracted DWP work. Staff at these places have even poorer pay and conditions, and less training than DWP staff. We’ve already seen Jobcentre Plus staff being compulsorily transferred from benefit processing into contact centres where they can be disciplined for ‘inefficiency’ if they spend too long on the phone, or dare to use their professional judgement when dealing with the public instead of conforming to the rigidly tight call-times target. This cranking up of pressure on you is going to get worse, and we completely support fight backs such as the recent strike action in Glasgow and English cities.
It’s very much in the government’s interest that feelings of ‘them and us’ between DWP staff and claimants are actively encouraged. We seek to counter this, and invite DWP staff to share their experiences with us – we know the vast majority of DWP staff seek to provide a good public service, and are increasingly frustrated by the cuts and the ‘target setting’ culture. We invite you to contact us – in absolute confidence, we ask for no names – and share the pressures you are under.
We can be contacted at : ecap@lists.riseup.net
http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/

Wellclose Square
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May 8 2011 12:44

I'm pretty sure that Atos Origin have (most definitely did have) an office in Andover too. It was on Newbury Road (on the left as you head north out of town) towards Enham Alamein and Hurstbourne Tarrant, either immediately before or immediately after Enham Arch (a railway bridge). It's an anonymous looking brown brick and glass building and you wouldn't know they were (assuming they still are) there unless you looked at the intercom by the main door. When I called a few times in 2005-6 I assumed they had military or intelligence connections because of the over-the-top security - you couldn't enter the building but had to wait at the door for someone to come down three floors to see you. I got in once as someone was coming out the door, and got up to their floor - they were as jumpy as hell and told me not to do it again.

Knowing now what I know about them (having had direct personal dealings as well as through my partner) I'm not surprised they are so security-conscious - they are utter bastards!

Here:

http://www.uk.atosorigin.com/en-uk/about_us/locations/default.htm

Kingsgate House, Newbury Road, Andover, SP10 4DU

Another edit: immediately after Enham Arch!

Yorkie Bar
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May 10 2011 18:39

Picket in Leeds!

We're meeting at train station (outisde wetherspoons) at 1.30 pm and going down to ATOS Origin:

Atos Origin
MWB Business Exchange
1 Whitehall
Whitehall Road
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 4HR

Picket, leafletting, etc outside the office of ATOS - the company responsible for taking thousands of people with disabilities and illnesses of their benefits, causing suicides, etc. Join us as we join the rest of the country in fighting this.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=223602730990119&notif_t=event_invite

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Joseph Kay
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May 10 2011 19:01

There was a picket in Brighton this morning, hopefully another to follow later in the week.

Hinnys on Holidays
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May 10 2011 19:58

There a public report from Brighton anywhere, Joseph?

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Joseph Kay
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May 10 2011 20:13

Doesn't that link work? Should be public...

edit: was accidentally set to SF only, public now!

Spikymike
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May 11 2011 14:47

Shug,

Thanks for both those posts - wish I had seen them before I went to the SWP dominated 'Coalition Against the Cuts' demo' in Manchester about this today as I could perhaps have run off a few leaflets of my own.

As it was the only useful, if very short and basic, copied leaflet available was produced by a SolFed sympathiser and I helped give that out to workers or other interested onlookers.

There were of course the usual papers on sale and some dubious slogans on placards.

I will try to be better prepared at future events. (Any help with printable attachments/links posted here again will be helpful)

Otherwise the demo' was reasonably well attended, despite some rain, by about 50 people at one point and fairly noisy.

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RedEd
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May 14 2011 18:15

In Cambridge (where we had an occupation of the Atos office http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Protesters-occupy-healthcare-building-12052011.htm) we're planning to keep on the pressure, and are looking to link up with other groups who want to continue targeting Atos. Anyone have info. of further action anywhere in the country.

Martin O Neill
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May 16 2011 02:11

Keep an eye on:

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/

The national days of protest against benefit cuts have been about every 6 weeks so far.

Handing out 'How to deal with benefits medical examinations ' leaflets outside Atos Medical Assessment Centres is a pretty useful thing to in the meantime:

http://thecrutchcollective.blogspot.com/p/how-to-deal-with-benefits-medical.html

Check here for Atos recruitment evenings:

http://www.atoshealthcarejobs.co.uk/events.html

We will be doing something about the next one in Glasgow on June 6th.

Samotnaf
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May 16 2011 03:49

For those who have contacts in France, where ATOS originates, it might be worth pointing out this brief text to them (it's being considered for inclusion by the moderators at a couple of indymedia sites in France plus a French email list). It's got a list of Atos addresses in France, and their national phone number.