Information about associated events with the National Week Against Atos Origin can be found at the National Claimants Against Benefit Cuts website
West Midlands anti cuts co-ordinating meeting press release.
At West Bromwich Town Hall on Tuesday 10 May, anti-cuts groups from across the West Midlands met to plan and coordinate opposition to the ConDem Government’s assault on the Public Sector and Welfare System.
Groups from Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Shropshire and Walsall and DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) called upon anyone opposed to the cuts to join them in supporting the Trade Unions currently in dispute or balloting their members over the vicious attacks on pensions, and to take part in rallies and demonstrations on 30 June when nearly a million workers could take the first step in the industrial action needed to defeat the Government’s plans.
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‘Who are they targeting and How can we stop them?’ Birmingham meeting
On Thursday 12th May Right to Work, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Social Work Action Network (SWAN ) hosted a meeting at Unison headquarters in Birmingham about ConDems attacks on the disabled and cuts to benefits. It posed two questions – Who are they targeting and How can we stop them?
Linda Burnip from DPAC outlined the detail and depth of the attacks on disabled people. Linda highlighted the savage cuts to housing, disability, sickness and welfare benefits, with disabled people likely to see a drastic drop in disposable income with many slipping below the poverty line.
Polly Sweeney, a solicitor from Irwin Mitchell spoke about how discrimination law can be used to stop the cuts to disabled people and gave us a report on a case she’s just won preventing Birmingham City Council changing eligibility criteria for care funding.
Nicki Ward and Barbara Marshall from SWAN pointed out British social welfare policy under the Coalition Government is undergoing a breathtaking upheaval. Profit and care are not compatible. SWAN are urging those involved in social work to make a stand against the social violence being unleashed by the ConDem coalition: to speak out, campaign and join the movements of resistance.
Paul Brandon National Secretary of Right to Work urged everyone to remember this is a bankers created crisis and we should not be made to pay for it. He urged everyone to support coordinated strike action on the 30th June and to build for massive demonstrations outside the Lib Dem conference on the 18 Sep in Birmingham and the Tory party conference on the 2nd October with them ultimate aim of bringing the ConDem coalition down.
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Linda Burnip’s report on ATOS WEEK OF ACTION
A successful week of actions called by various disabled and claimants groups and supported by Right to Work protesting against ATOS the private firm milking millions of tax payers money from the testing of disabled people through their tick box computer Work Capability Assessments occurred all around the country. Over 50 anti- cuts groups also supported the week of action.
Several events took place in London supported on Monday by PCS members who share the hatred disabled people feel towards ATOS since they also make profits from testing civil servants who have been off work sick. In Northern Ireland NIPSA, the largest public sector union, whose members are losing their jobs next month to ATOS expressed support for the protests.
On Thursday the Islington event picketing both ATOS and A4e was supported by RMT staff whose jobs are being replaced by the use of unemployed people through workfare programmes. This is something we feel union members will start noticing much more of in the near future as these schemes continue to be rolled out nationwide.
Other major protests took place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Truro, Nottingham, Hastings, Cardiff, York, Chatham, Plymouth and Bristol plus on 2 days in Brighton, and on 2 days in Birmingham. In Birmingham protesters performed Brighton Benefits Campaign play ‘The Computer says NO’ with RtW’s Simon Furze playing the part of the wicked computer. In Cambridge there was an occupation of the ATOS office.
Fuller details can be found at http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com
pics from Monday’s Triton square demo can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/peteriches/sets/72157626569684887/ Whilst The Guardian has a video at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2011/may/11/disability-protest-atos-origin-video
Birmingham, May 13th
Cross posted on the Right to Work website
Medway anti cuts campaigners protest over disability benefits
Campaigners from Medway Against the Cuts protested outside a Medical Testing Centre in Batchelor St Chatham on Friday against ATOS Origin the private company that run the centre.
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‘We will be back!’ says ATOS protesters in Manchester
In Manchester thirty protesters rallied outside the assessment offices of ATOS. They marched into the grounds chanting, ‘Benefit Cuts No Way! Make the Greedy Bankers Pay!’
‘These attacks on disabled people are designed to force people into work when they clearly are not fit for work. The process is designed to drive down wages of those who are in work. It is an attack on everyone,’ said Lesley Barrington.
‘A diagnosis of mental health problems can take years to reach. ATOS is putting people under pressure, some become suicidal over these cuts. When they take away benefits from people with mental health problems they do tremendous damage. It is obscene to take away people’s basic rights in the 21st Century.” Paul Reed, Manchester Users Network, a charity that helps users and ex users of mental health facilities in Manchester.
‘Basically I am really scared about being forced into work. A lot of other people are in the same situation. We end up being numbers not people. I am really proud to be here with everyone on this protest.’ Sharon Hooley, Disability Adult Action Network
More at RtW website