Atos Origin Protests Across the UK – full round up
A successful week of actions called by disabled, claimants and anti-cuts groups protesting against ATOS Origin took place this week. Atos are the private company milking millions of tax payers money from the testing of disabled people through their tick box computer Work Capability Assessments. Over 50 groups supported the week of action which saw pickets, demonstrations and protests in every major city in the UK.
Several events took place in London including a protest outside Atos’ London Headquarters on Monday and a picket of the company’s Archway Origin on Thursday. Groups such as Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), London Coalition Against Poverty, Winvisible Network , Black Triangle, Solidarity Federation and Right To Work were joined by members of both the PCS and RMT Unions who pledged full support for claimants.
Reports from the London Protest can be found at:
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
In Cambridge there was an occupation of the ATOS office which lasted late into the evening (see pic above). A new group has been established in Cambridge to continue the struggle against Atos Origin, they can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_145100512227980
More pics and the full story of the occupation can be found at: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/05/479396.html
Other major protests took place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, 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 from DPAC and Right to Work performed Brighton Benefits Campaign play ‘The Computer says NO’, pics at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabledpeopleprotest/sets/72157626712433434/
Liverpool Solidarity Federation organised a picket of the offices of Atos Origin on Monday: http://solfed.org.uk/?q=national-week-of-action-against-atos-liverpool
In Bristol a newspaper was produced and second picket of the ATOS testing centre by the Social Care, Claimants and Welfare group (part of BADACA) was held, full report at: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/704492
Atos Origin were also picketed for the second time in a month in noisy protests in both Glasgow and Edinburgh called by Black Triangle Anti Defamation Campaign, The Crutch Collective, Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and more. Details of the Edinburgh protest are at: http://local.stv.tv/edinburgh-west/news/17274-demonstrators-gather-outside-disability-testing-centre-calling-for-changes-in-assessment-system/
Protesters in Glasgow are already organising the next anti-Atos demo on Monday 6th June between 6pm and 8pm at the Atos recruitment evening at the assessment centre, Corunna House, 29 Cadogan Street. A report of last week’s action and details of the next at: http://thecrutchcollective.blogspot.com/2011/05/picket-of-atos-glasgow-may-12th.html
Nottingham Anarchist Federation also held a picket of Atos, along with picketing (succesfully, they won!) employment agency Office Angels who have been accused of mistreating temporary workers: http://nottsblackarrow.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/207/
Manchester Coalition Against Cuts and others demonstrated outside Atos on Wednesday 11th – you can watch a video at: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150174072422909&comments
In Leeds a protest was held outside Atos and Best, another company involved in the privatisation of the benefit system for the profit of a few: http://northern-indymedia.org/articles/2017
York Welfare Campaign Group organised a protest on Friday which appeared to have closed Atos down for the day, report at: http://yorkstopthecuts.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/atos-protest-solidarity-with-the-hardest-hit/
A successful protest was also held in Hastings: “Picket and protest outside Atos branch in Hastings went off today. 25 members of Hastings Against The Cuts and Hastings and Rother Disabled People Against Cuts turned up to leaflet, protest and make a lot of noise. We’re considering turning this into a weekly event.“
Campaigners from Medway Against the Cuts protested outside the ATOS Medical Testing Centre in Batchelor St Chatham on Friday. A dozen protesters gathered outside the ATOS Testing Centre with banners and placards handing out leaflets and chanting “ATOS shouldn’t gain from disabled people’s pain “ and “ATOS don’t give a toss about benefits loss”.
It’s not over in Cardiff, a protest was held last Monday outside the Atos Disability Benefits Building whilst tomorrow (Monday 16th May) see the fifth Unemployed Daytime Disco.
In Brighton, the newly formed Brighton DPAC were joined by Brighton Solidarity Campaign for a two day picket of Atos: http://solfed.org.uk/?q=national-week-of-action-against-atos-brighton
Keep an eye on the Brighton Benefits Campaign website for news of an upcoming performance of ‘Computer Says No’ in Worthing.
In Plymouth about a dozen people including trade unionists , people with disabilities and carers and socialist/anarchist activists picketed the Atos medical centre at Argosy House. They plan another picket in June
It’s not too late to join the International Week of Virtual Protest Against Atos – more details at: https://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/international-week-of-virtual-protest-against-atos-origin/
Apologies to those we’ve missed, please add any reports in the comments.
It’s far from over for Atos, as well as the various activities mentioned above, a demonstration has been called outside the BMJ Recruitment Fair on September 29th in London. Watch this space for details of more actions and protests against Atos Origin in the coming weeks.
Resistance is also growing to the various workfare schemes, which is where many people stripped of benefits by Atos may end up. To find out more visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/