Jul 062012

PCS are balloting 1,500 members who work for Atos – about 400 of them in Healthcare as admin and reception staff (not the medics), the rest in IT Services for industrial action against the firm.

The ballot is over pay, as unions are limited to what they can legally ballot over by restrictive trade union laws. However this multi-million pound company whose CEO Thieery Breton was paid a £1 million bonus on top of his £900,000 a year salary still pay a pittance to their staff and have offered a below inflation pay rise for this year.

While the latest figures show the company made an annual profit of more than £283 million – almost 7% up on the previous year – they’ve offered  below inflation to staff, and have refused to commit to becoming a ‘living wage’ employer (£7.20 an hour, or £8.30 an hour in London).

PCS held an indicative ballot recently on the pay offer and 95% of members in Healthcare and 89% in IT Services rejected it, so they’re confident they’ll vote to strike and plan to target this during the Olympics.A PCS spokesman said:

“By sponsoring the Olympics, Atos is trying to buff up its image and associate itself with the ‘spirit of the Games’. The reality of course is very different because, while company executives and shareholders cream off the profits, Atos is condemning the rest of its staff to poverty pay. It’s a scandal that, at the same time, this company is taking millions of pounds of our money to help the government cut vital benefits for sick and disabled people.”



 Posted by at 20:33
Jul 052012

message from journalist, 

I am running a story this week looking at changes to eligibility criteria at councils concerning adult social care. I am looking to speak to someone who has had their care package reduced or cut under a change of eligibility. 

Below is a list of councils that have increased their social care eligibility from  moderate needs to substantial since 2010 elections and April this year. I would need to speak to someone (ten mins on phone, and pic) from one of these councils.The idea of the piece is to show how important these care services are and the impact  that taking them away would have on people’s lives. I really don’t think I can run the piece without a human story, as I need to demonstrate how this seemingly bereaucratic policy change affects real people. 

West Sussex 

Please, get in touch as soon as possible if you think you have someone who I could talk to for the piece. I have to speak to them at some point tomorrow (Fri). 

Thanks for your help, 

Sarah. email s.morrison@independent.co.uk

 Posted by at 19:12
Jul 042012

All DPAC supporters who live in Warwickshire have been invited to consider this.

Rugby TUSC is attempting to co-ordinate an anti cuts electoral challenge across Warwickshire as part of building up to the County Council Elections next year, in order to mount as wide as possible a challenge across the county.  We want to encourage anti cuts candidates to stand as TUSC from as many areas across Warwickshire as possible. We are planning a Warwickshire wide Public Event to launch the campaign.

The TUSC National Steering Committee has issued an appeal for trade unionists and anti cuts candidates to come forward as prospective candidates now and start preparing for the 2013 elections.

As I am sure you are aware, County Councils have considerable spending budgets – nationally they spend over £35 billion, employing over 700,000 workers.  Warwickshire County Council has already made massive cuts to the services we all use, and there have been considerable job losses as a result.  We have already seen the virtual wipe out of all youth provision in Warwickshire, along with the closures of fire stations, Care homes and libraries.  Bus services have been severely cut back.  Many working people and those being forced into unemployment depend on these services.  Now we hear that the County Council is prepared to put lives at risk by switching off most of its street lights between midnight and 5.30am.  This means, some major routes will be without lights.  It also means minor roads across the county and Industrial/Trading Estates will be without lighting, making them much less safe.

A further example of the way cuts are hitting people comes with the news that there is much less money available from the County Council for voluntary and community groups – in Rugby, this will hit a homeless charity, the Race Equality Partnership, local sports groups and clubs for young people.

As a result of all this, Rugby TUSC has decided these cuts must be challenged as broadly as possible. Prospective anti-cuts candidates have already been selected to fight County Council wards inRugby, and we now want to set up a Warwickshire Regional TUSC Co-ordinating Committee for the 2013 County council Elections to mount a serious electoral challenge.

If you are interested in knowing more please contact: Pete McLaren  pete.mclaren@virgin.net 07881 520626

 Posted by at 20:45
Jul 042012

Youth Fight for Jobs condemns Cameron’s plan to abolish Housing Benefit for the under-25s.

Week of action called for 30th July – 4th August, with protests in Llanelli, Swansea, Cardiff, the South Wales valleys and Newport planned.

Contact Scott Jones, YFJ West Wales Organiser: 07812 406194. Scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk

Scott Jones (24), a shopworker and YFJ West Wales organiser, said, “These attacks would undoubtedly lead to homelessness and misery for an estimated 210,000 young people. If you’re young in Britain today, you are justified to feel a bit victimised by David Cameron’s government. After the trebling of tuition fees, the cuts to EMA and the Future Job Fund and cuts to youth services which had a hand in leading to last summers riots, now we have the proposed scrapping of housing benefit for anyone under-25!

“There will, correctly, be mass outrage at these attacks for a number of reasons. Firstly, many of the claimants are actually in work and need to claim housing benefit due to only having part time employment or being paid far less than a living wage. Secondly, most of the benefit claimed ends up in the bank accounts of private landlords to do with as they please. They charge extortionate rents because there is a lack of houses to go around and this is being exploited. Finally, the fundamental reason that Housing benefit expenditure has increased and the reason there is a lack of housing is down to the failure of both New Labour and the Tories governments to build social housing.

“These cuts are yet another attack in the name of austerity like public service cuts and slave labour workfare schemes which will be the primary target of a week of action by Youth Fight For Jobs across the towns and cities of Wales in the week beginning 30th July.  Youth Fight For Jobs campaigns against any attack on the youth of this country and aim to put youth unemployment at the top of the political agenda. The week of action will climax with an Austerity Games, an alternative Olympics that will provide an opportunity to highlight and fight attacks of the living standards of the young and poor whilst big business and their friends in government have a tax payer funded party.”

Scott Jones, YFJ West Wales Organiser: 07812 406194. Scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk. Scott is 24 and is a shopworker. He lives in Llanelli.

Other YFJ contacts available for interview:

Jaime Davies, YFJ South East Wales Organiser: 07506 218523.

 Posted by at 20:32
Jul 042012
There will be an alternative Picnic On The Commons on Tuesday 17th July 2012.The aim is to Lobby MP’s in the Central Lobby and then go onto a Picnic.Every one who comes would be well advised to bring water/drink and food with them and we can all share our food/drink if people want to. I would like to see as many people there, along with PA’s/SW’s, Wheelchair Users, Sight Impaired/Guide Dogs etc…everyone is welcome to join in, but you must be prepared to complete a Green Slip to ask to see your MP to complain about the Welfare Reform Act and upcoming PIP/Universal Benefits.

The time to start going into the Central Lobby to see your MP is 2pm onwards, so please give yourselves enough time to go through Security and be guided by House Of Commons Guides to walk you to the Central Lobby. If you would like to meet up beforehand meet at College Green- opposite House of Commons – for 1.45 pm.

This is the day that Parliament goes in Recess and all the MP’s rush off for their 3 month paid holidays, so keeping them back a bit will inconvenience them as they must see their constituents if they submit a Green Slip.

After we have seen our MPs, we are aiming to have an alternative picnic, so bring along a blanket, food & drink, I promise you all it will be something to remember. I look forward to seeing as many people there as possible – Adam

 Posted by at 19:44
Jul 032012

DPAC now has a volunteer run legal referral service with solicitors based in London. Please read the information below. If you feel after reading the information below you may still need legal advice please contact us at info@hafcac.org.uk or on 07899 752877. This is run by DPAC volunteers so you may not get an immediate reply.

Frequently, the most effective way of resolving a community care/ social services, health authority (public bodies) related dispute will be through informal contact with the local authority, NHS body, MP or a local councillor.

You may be able to get advice from a local advice agency or law centre first which may be more accessible to you.




However, the law permits a person to apply to the High Court to have a decision made by a public body reviewed under Human Rights Act 1998 s7.

You will generally be expected to give the local authority or NHS body that you are unhappy with the opportunity to remedy the issue before the ombudsman (a person who is there to represent the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints reported by individuals) or a court or will be prepared to consider a complaint.

In certain situations, (such as where a person is facing a deterioration of his or her health as a result of a decision taken by a public body), it may be possible to challenge the decision quickly in the Court or make a direct approach to the ombudsman.

 Posted by at 13:06
Jul 012012

Can the Condems ever be trusted to tell the truth?

On February 1st Chris Grayling in a private members debate about the discredited work capability assessment stated:

“On audio recording, we will offer everyone who wants it the opportunity to have their session recorded. We decided not to implement universal recording because, based on the trial experience, people did not want it. Few people wanted their sessions recorded, and some said that they definitely did not. We decided therefore to offer recording as an option to those who want it. That seems entirely sensible.”

Following an email about being refused the option of having a WCA recorded from a Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) supporter DPAC and False Economy have investigated this further.  It seems that only months after Grayling made this promise ATOS are refusing to allow disabled people to have their WCAs recorded. ATOS are claiming that all 11 of the recording machines are broken. This is a totally inadequate number anyhow for the number of test centres there are, however to be asked to believe that they are all broken is beyond a joke.

The Nottingham assessment centre where the supporter was due to have her assessment recorded gave as the reason  for refusing to allow her to have her assessment recorded was that their equipment broke and it would take a long time to repair, hence they [quote]: “have decided to not offer the option of recording any longer.”

When she asked if this for ever and the answer was “yes”. The name of the person she spoke to is a Simon in the Nottingham branch.

Surely given the fiasco over A4e it is now time for some rigorous auditing of ATOS assessments and practices to occur. Please let us know at mail@dpac.uk.net if you are refused permission to have your WCa recorded.

 Posted by at 18:48