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Picket against Atos, against privatising benefits! (Week of action against Atos) | 12.05.2011 16:55 | Social Struggles

LEEDS - 12 May 2011. As part of a national Week of Action Against Atos Origin, pickets were held today in front of Atos's headquarters in Leeds. This is part of a growing campaign to raise awareness about the privatisation of the benefit system, in particular the role that Atos is playing to kick disabled people off of benefits - an assault that has already led to several claimants dying waiting for their appeals.

After picketing in front of Atos's headquarters, people moved to picket the offices of Best, another company involved in the privatisation of the benefit system for the profit of a few.

A transcript of the leaflet handed out is below:

Atos Origin is a multinational corporation that the government is paying £500 million to carry out "work capability assessments" for everyone on incapacity benefit. The computerised tick-box test assesses people with terminal illnesses and severe mental conditions as fit for work. It's a badly disguised attempt to cut as many people's benefits as possible.

Atos Origin is being paid millions to do the government's dirty work. So far, over 40% of appeals against the test's results have been successful. But people are dying waiting for their appeals to be processed. What Atos is doing amounts to an attack on benefitsclaimants, including severely ill and disabled people.

The welfare reforms of the coalition government are part of the new "work programme," a continuation of the blair government's "welfare to work" programme. Its real purpose is to cut people's benefits to force them to go on Job Seeker's Allowance which is cheaper for the government because it's less money, resulting in people losing a third of their income or more.

The press are always ready to smear people on welfare as "benefits scroungers," but the reality for people scraping by on the dole or incapacity benefit is very different. Benefits claimants shouldn't have to pay the cost of a financial crisis they didn't cause. (Week of action against Atos)
- Original article on IMC Northern England: