This video from Britain is called ATOS kills disabled says Black Triangle at Vodafone Protest.
By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:
Campaigners take Atos fight to firm’s HQ
Tuesday 28 August 2012
Paralympic sponsor Atos is playing games with disabled people’s lives, campaigners in Birmingham said today during a week of high-profile protests against the company.
Activists from Disabled People Against The Cuts rallied outside the firm’s local assessment centre in Five Ways House today to demand it drop its controversial “tick-box testing” of people on disability benefits.
Half a dozen security guards from fellow privateer G4S flanked the building’s front steps – despite the centre’s location on a wheelchair-inaccessible first floor.
But protest convener Linda Burnip told the Morning Star the security presence had done little to dampen their spirits.
Even the guards had been sympathetic, she said, with one telling her it was the only job he could find.
“We’ve had lots of support from cars passing by – people waving and beeping,” she said.
Fellow demonstrator Kayley said the company’s assessor had forced her onto jobseeker’s allowance despite severe depression and anxiety, autism and irritable bowel syndrome.
“He asked ‘how many times have you attempted suicide?’ I said ‘three.’ He said ‘have you done any permanent damage?’”
The transfer had left her “totally broke” for three months until the jobseeker’s allowance kicked in and her disabilities were still barring her from finding work.
But she said she was “one of the lucky ones” as she was able to get by on small sums from her grandma.
The International Paralympic Committee’s sponsorship dosh is worth an estimated £100m over the next decade – yet Atos makes that much in a single year under a lucrative contract with the Department of Work and Pensions.
The contract pays private contractor Atos Origin to examine disabled beneficiaries using a computerised points-based program.
Those awarded less than 15 points are automatically deemed “fit for work” and lose their employment support allowance, while even a pass can still see the allowance reduced.
Trials last year saw a 70 per cent drop in full benefits and a 30 per cent drop in “unfit for work” assessments, leading critics to accuse Atos of deliberately driving down payouts to increase profits.
Atos has rejected the claim – but earlier this month a Channel 4 programme screened company instructors saying a 13 per cent approval rate was “too high.”
Since its launch, more than 300,000 people have appealed against their decisions and almost 40 per cent have won – with a judicial review now pending.
Dave Sewell on the horrific letters that expose how Paralympics sponsor Atos treats disabled people: here.