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.

Jun 262011
 

Thursday, June 30 · 8:30am – 11:00am

Euston Tower, then Triton Square, Euston Road, London, NW1

Benefit claimants, disabled people and supporters will be joining the PCS picket line at HMRC, Euston Tower from 8.30am*.

We  will be standing in solidarity with all striking workers on the day, and in
particular public sector workers who know only too well what the result of this
government’s savage welfare policies will be.

Join  us at Euston Tower, where speeches will begin at 9am.  At 10am we will be
paying a short visit to notorious poverty pimps Atos Origin, the IT  company
responsible for carrying out the disastrous Work Capability  Assessments which
have driven sick and disabled claimants to suicide.

Many  of us then will make our way to the Trade Union march and Striker’s
Assembly, both being held in central London.  For full details of all  events,
pickets and actions taking place in London on the day please  visit:
http://www.j30strike.org/location/london/

*the PCS picket line will begin at 7am so please come earlier if you can.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=157149237689219&;

May 142011
 

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.

more from Right to Work website
‘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.

More from Right to Work website

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

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Protesters-occupy-healthcare-building-12052011.htm

http://www.demotix.com/news/685823/atos-origin-demonstration-london

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

http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabledpeopleprotest/sets/72157626712433434/

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.
More from RtW website

‘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