Nov 162012
 

Joint statement on campaigning against welfare cuts

 Public and Commercial Services union, Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle Campaign

 

PCS, DPAC and Black Triangle Campaign are united in opposing the government’s austerity programme, which seeks to force people to pay for the failure of the finance system and of the government to regulate it.

The government is making unprecedented cuts across the public sector and is removing people’s social, economic and civil rights. The welfare state which was established to provide social security to those unable to work is being systematically dismantled through privatisation and £30 billion of cuts announced to date.

This is not about balancing the books. Over the same period, the government has also given away £30 billion in tax breaks to business. This is an ideological assault on the welfare state.

Disabled people are being disproportionately and brutally affected by these cuts, which include to Employment and Support Allowance, and the Disability Living Allowance, the imposition of the Work Capability Assessment (carried out by Atos) and the proposed abolition of the Independent Living Fund.

It is shameful and immoral that private companies are making profit from disabled and unemployed workers but worse, it does not work, the public sector delivers services more effectively, efficiently and less expensively than the private sector.

The cuts are blighting the lives of the least economically secure in society. The government’s approach cannot work: there are already 2.5 million people unemployed, and over 6 million seeking additional work. Pushing disabled people off benefits – without creating jobs or tackling employer discrimination – is simply a means of cutting disabled people’s living standards.

Evidence shows supportive social security systems that treat people with dignity and respect – rather than punitive systems based on conditionality, sanctions and low benefit levels – help individuals, families and communities but also the wider economy. The social, individual and household consequences of these cuts contravene the right to independent living enshrined in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

To justify this brutal attack on disabled people and those on welfare more generally, the government has engaged in a campaign of vilification to label those on benefits as lazy, as feckless and as scroungers. Much of the news and print media have colluded in this hate campaign – leading to a sharp increase in attacks on disabled workers, including physical assaults. The government’s own figures show benefit fraud accounts for £1.5 billion a year, while £16 billion of benefits and tax credits are left unclaimed.

Tens of thousands of PCS members are involved in the administration of the welfare state and they are committed to providing a service that meets people’s needs. Workers are facing huge cuts in their pay, pensions and rights at work – 40% of those workers who will administer universal credit will also be entitled to it.

PCS members are often on the frontline, facing the anguish and anger of those suffering from government welfare policies. PCS members did not create these policies, the union does not support them and is committed to campaigning against them.

We commit to strengthening our campaigning alliance, which includes peaceful direct action against those politicians who have supported these policies and against those companies that seek to profit from them.

The government is trying to divide people: between those in work and those out of work;, between disabled and non-disabled people, between those in the public sector and those in the private sector. The key to defeating these welfare cuts, and austerity more generally, is unity.

PCS, DPAC, and Black Triangle members have a common cause in defeating these welfare cuts and in building a decent welfare state. We are united.

Apr 182011
 
"Atos don't give a toss" placard

"Atos don't give a toss"

On the last Day of Action Against Benefit Cuts protests, actions and demonstrations were organised in Dundee, Edinburgh, Westminster, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, Brighton, Glasgow, Poole, Burnley, Islington, Kensington, Cardiff, Poole and Truro.  This time we’ve got all week!

Disability activists, claimant groups and anti-cuts campaigners have called a week of action against poverty pimps Atos Origin beginning on Monday 9th May with a picnic and party in Triton Square*, home of their head office, at 2pm.

Atos Origin have just begun a £300 million contract by 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.

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.

On the 24th January claimants from around the country demonstrated outside Atos Origins premises, with many choosing to close for the day rather than face their ‘clients’. We call on all groups around the UK to take action against these parasites who have been dubbed ‘the racial purity and euthanasia arm of the DWP’

A list of Atos Origin’s corporate offices and testing centres can be found via: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/national-week-of-action-against-atos-origin-begins-monday-9th-may/

If you are holding an event, protest or action in your home town please add details on the wall below to have your event added to this page and the website. Alternatively contact us at: notowelfarecuts@yahoo.co.uk

*Triton Square is on the North side of Euston Road, just over the road from Warren Street tube and less than five minutes from Euston/Euston Square or Great Portland Street tube stations.

facebook event at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121624627914913

Supporting groups (please contact us to be added to the list)

Supported by:

o Armchair Army
o Anti-Benefit Cuts Glasgow
o Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign
o Brighton Benefits Campaign
o Cardiff’s Unemployed Daytime Disco
o Carer Watch
o Carer Watch fb page
o Crippen – Disabled Cartoonist
o Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
o Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
o Dundee Unemployed Workers
o East Lancs Right to Work
o Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP)
o Free London Listings
o Goldsmiths in Occupation
o Haringey Solidarity Group
o Ipswich Unemployed Action
o Islington Deaf and Disabled People Against Cuts (IDPAC)
o Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS)
o Islington Poverty Action
o Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
o Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts
o London Coalition Against Poverty (LCAP)
o London Foodbank
o Mad Pride
o Medway Against The Cuts
o Mental Health Resistance Network
o Norfolk Community Action Group
o Nottingham Claimants’ Union
o Nuneaton Against Benefit Cuts
o Oxford Save Our Services
o Squattastic
o Tyneside Claimants Union
o Welfare Action Hackney
o Welfare Rights 4 u (UK)
o Work Programme & Flexible New Deal Scandal
o World Homeless Day

Apr 172011
 

Protests took place around the country on the 14th April as part of the Third National Day of Action Against Benefit Cuts.

An early morning demonstration in Islington saw a crowd gather outside the North London Atos testing centre, and demonstrations also took place outside Atos in Bristol as well as in Burnley, Poole and Truro town centres.

Photo from the Holloway ATOS protest

Holloway ATOS protest photo by PCS Euston

A demonstration of roughly 40-60 people gathered outside the Daily Mail head office in Kensington demanding that they end the lies they print about disabled people and benefit claimants.  Police initially prevented the protest happening  outside the Mail’s entrance and demonstrators gathered opposite the front door of the Daily Mail Group on the other side of the building instead.

As the protest became increasingly angry it managed to move to it’s intended location where the microphone was passed round and impassioned and diverse expressions of contempt were aimed at the so called newspaper.

Protesters then moved onto to Westminster City Hall where over a hundred people shared food, made speeches and vowed to defy any attempts to criminalise rough sleeping and the handing out of food in parts of the borough.

The Daily Mail’s Scotland offices were also targeted with activists invading their offices to distribute information and tell the faceless hacks personally what they think of the Daily Mail’s abuse of disabled people.  Prior to this the group has demonstrated outside the Glasgow offices of Atos Origin, the company responsible for health testing benefit claimants in an attempt to strip people of benefits.

Atos Origin were the focus of many protests around the country.  Their testing centre Edinburgh was picketed whilst over 40 people protested outside their premises in Dundee.  The protest at Atos’ Scotland Head Office in Livingston turned out to be a red herring, with a large police presence arriving to discover everyone had gone to Dundee instead.

In Brighton the Computer Says No play was performed outside Atos offices to an enthusiastic crowd and heavy police presence.  Liverpool and Leeds both saw demonstrations outside Atos, organised by local Solidarity Federation branches and the Black Triangle Anti Defamation Campaign.

The Armchair Army, Virtual Resistance and Troll A Tory ensured that those unable to attend protests in person could make their feelings heard.  Hundreds of online activists wrote to MPs, media outlets or trolled Tory websites throughout the day.

Anti-benefit cuts camapaigners are now calling for escalation.  A week of action against Atos Origin has been called beginning on May 9th.

Please put this date in your diary.

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Source: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/

Islington demo report on Islington Tribune

Photos from PCS Euston

Photos from Pete Riches

Photos and report from Daily Mail protest Howard Jones at Demotix

Photos and report from Daily Mail protest from Peter Kirk at Demotix

Photos and report from Islington demo from Peter Kirk at Demotix

Photos at DPAC Flickr