Daily Archives: August 14, 2012

Press release: DPAC and UK Uncut team up to target Paralympics sponsor Atos


Press enquiries:

  • UK Uncut: Tel: 07415063231 | Email: ukuncut@gmail.com
  • DPAC: Tel: 07508 983 610 | Email: maildpac.uk.net
  • UK Uncut [1] has today announced a joint action with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) [2], dubbed ‘The Closing Atos Ceremony’. The two groups have vowed to shut down Atos’ HQ at Triton Square in Central London during the Paralympic Games; promising direct action, creative protest and ‘plenty of surprises’. The action will be taking place on Friday 31st August at 12:45pm.

    Atos have come under fierce scrutiny for their handling of the Department of Work and Pensions £100 million a year contract, assessing whether claimants for incapacity benefits are ‘fit for work’. Last year 1,100 claimants died while under compulsory work-related activity for benefit [3]; and a number of those found ‘fit for work’ and left without income have committed or attempted suicide [4]. In a recent episode of Dispatches [5], a hidden camera revealed Atos staff being pressured into declaring people fit in order to fulfil targets, instead of assessing people based on individual needs.

    The British Medical Association, disabled groups, and MPs have all demanded the work capability assessments be ended immediately. In June, the BMA [6] in Scotland and England demanded the WCA end with immediate effect. This was followed by an Early Day Motion [7] , signed by 83 MPs, criticising Atos assessments and their sponsorship of the Paralympics. And earlier this month the High Court granted permission for two disabled people to bring a claim for judicial review against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, challenging the operation of the WCA [8].

    DPAC and UK Uncut have taken action together before – last January they blocked roads at Oxford Circus in resistance to the government’s Welfare Reform Bill [9]. Disabled activists also played a leading role in UK Uncut’s anti-austerity jubilee street party on Nick Clegg’s street in Putney [10]. They claim the action against Atos will be equally ‘audacious, daring and disruptive’.

    Disabled people and their supporters will be coming from all over the country to the join the action in Central London. Both disabled and anti-cuts activists have vowed to highlight that “it is Atos who are not ‘fit for work’”. The two groups will be joining forces in a grand finale to end the week of action against Atos lead by Disabled People against the Cuts, dubbed ‘The Atos Games’ [11].

    UK Uncut and DPAC have said: ‘We’re not against the Paralympics. We are against the hypocrisy of Atos’ involvement, when they may soon be removing disability benefits from the people winning medals for Britain.’

    Paddy Murphy, a spokesperson from DPAC said:

    ‘ATOS receive hundreds of millions of pounds while many disabled people are being forced to live in abject poverty because of their decisions. By sponsoring the Paralympics, ATOS is trying to give the impression of supporting disabled people. Don’t be fooled. This is just another opportunity for them to ‘cash-in’. But we aren’t going to let them off the hook. We will make sure everyone knows what they are about

    We are challenging Atos in the courts, in parliament, online, on the streets and now at the Paralympics. The work capability assessment must end now.’

    Kat Templeton, a UK Uncut activist said:

    “Atos are spearheading the government’s attacks on welfare provision. This is about making ordinary people pay for a crisis caused by the bankers. It’s about making disabled people pay, instead of super-rich tax dodgers who cost us over £25billion every year. This is an ideological attack on the welfare state; these cuts are a political choice.”


    Notes to editors:

    [1] UK Uncut is a grassroots anti-cuts direct action network, well-known for targeting corporate tax avoidance: www.ukuncut.org

    [2] DPAC is a volunteer campaign network of and for disabled people campaigning for equality and human rights for all disabled people: www.dpac.uk.net/about

    [3] http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html

    [4] http://poultonblog.dailymail.co.uk/2012/03/people-are-choosing-suicide-to-escape-poverty-is-this-the-states-final-solution.html

    [5] http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/articles/britain-on-the-sick-reporter-feature

    [6] http://bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/news/2012/june/scrap-work-capability-assessment-doctors-demand


    [7] http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/295

    [8] http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/07/26/judicial-review-of-work-capability-assessment-granted/

    [9] http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jan/28/uk-uncut-protest-welfare-reforms

    [10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18219101

    [11] Events will be running from 27 to 31 August, contact DPAC for more details, or see here: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/07/our-atos-games/

    The Closing Atos Ceremony

    Friday 31st August, Atos HQ, Triton Square, London

    The Closing Atos Ceremony – (flat subs) from morelikewater on Vimeo.

    Don’t let Atos be a winner at the Paralympic Games – join us for The Closing Atos Ceremony, the grand finale to Disabled People Against Cuts’ week of Atos Games.

    Atos are sponsoring the Paralympics, whilst wrecking disabled people’s lives. George Osborne has vowed to slash £18 billion from the welfare budget, regardless of peoples’ needs and ignoring the alternatives. To help them do their dirty work, the Government are paying Atos £100 million a year to ‘test’ sick and disabled people and decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’. But Atos’ Work Capability Assessments are driving disabled people to suicide and over 1,000 people have died of their illnesses soon after being found ‘fit for work’.

    The Government claim that the welfare system is being abused- this just isn’t true. Less than 0.4% of Incapacity benefit payments are fraudulent, but the government want to cut welfare spending by 20%. And instead of helping to get people into work, the government are closing workplaces for disabled people.

    The Government and Atos don’t give a toss about disabled people. This is about making ordinary people pay for a crisis caused by the bankers. It’s about making disabled people pay, instead of super-rich tax dodgers who cost us over £25 billion every year. This is an ideological attack on the welfare state; these cuts are a political choice. But we’re fighting back.

    On Friday 31 August, UK Uncut and DPAC will be shutting down Atos’ London HQ for the Closing ATOS Ceremony. Meet in Triton Square at 12:45pm for direct action and creative protest, with plenty of surprises…

    The nearest fully accessible British Rail station is Kings Cross. From there, catch Bus 30 towards Marble Arch or Bus 205 towards Paddington from stop R or A, and get off at Warren Street, bus stop V.

    Please email or text to let us know about your travel and communication support needs, and we will try our best to meet them: mail@dpac.uk.net, or text 07502 022 077.

    We understand that issues which affect disabled people also affect the Deaf community, and British Sign Language will be available on the day.

    This action needs you! Join for the afternoon, or come on your lunch break. There will be lots of ways to take part – hand out leaflets, hold banners, or get involved in creative and daring ways. If you’re not in London, or can’t make it to the demonstration, there are still lots of ways to be involved in The Atos Games.

    Atos are making millions of pounds enforcing the government’s unnecessary cuts. It’s up to all of us to fight back, defend our welfare system, and demand the alternatives. Let’s show them that we do give a toss.

    See you at Atos HQ!

    Join the FB event to stay up to date with the plans