A well attended ceremony took place yesterday evening outside City Hall, London to make the opening of the Atos Games. Disabled people and supporters held speeches and a mock medal ceremony to launch the Week of Action Against Atos timed to coincide with the Paralympic Games. Atos are paid £100 million a year to carry out the brutal and demeaning Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Government. This short computer based health assessment has led to tens of thousands of sick and disabled people being stripped of vital benefits.
Atos have recently won the contract to assess all those claiming Disability Living Allowance, a process which has the stated aim of removing financial support from a fifth of disabled people. Astonishingly Atos are also sponsors of the Olympics Games. At the mock ceremony last night, Paralympic Gold medal winner, Tara Flood was stripped of her medals as she was declared no longer disabled by Atos assessors. Speakers from Disabled People Against Cuts and Transport For All, who both helped organise the event, spoke of their experiences at the hands of the company and their fury at Atos attempting to gain positive publicity on the back of the Paralympic Games.
Those assembled were warned that Paralympian Athletes will also soon face assessment by the company who have shown no mercy to even those with life threatening conditions. A recent investigation found that 32 people a week die after being judged ‘fit for work’ by the company. Atos were warned that we are coming for them – in the Courts, in Parliament, in the Courts and most importantly on the streets.
Protests will take place around the UK outside Atos offices today as part of the Week of Action. A Mass Die In will take place in Cardiff on Wednesday whilst a Memorial Service will be held outside their London Headquarters on the same day. Thursday will see a day of online and telephone action and on Friday DPAC will link up with UK Uncut for a spectacular Closing Atos Ceremony. For full details of events this week visit: here.