DAA News Network

UK: Disabled protesters hemmed in by police barricades

Posted 02/2-11 at 12.18

On January 24th, police in London ‘kettled' (confined within metal barriers) a group of disabled people who were demonstrating peacefully against Atos Origin, the company contracted by the government to deal with the administration of disability benefits. It is alleged that in many cases Atos have unfairly recommended that disabled people should lose benefits.

Disabled Demonstrators outside Atos buildings

Disabled protestors outside Atos Origin building

Some of the protesters have questioned the police tactics for what was a small, peaceful action. Labour MP John McDonnell has tabled an early day motion (edm 1344) praising the disabled people who took part in the demonstration, and expressing concern on behalf of protesters about being kettled and "unduly restricted in their demonstration".

http://www.bhfederation.org.uk/federation-news/item/1061-atos-protests-concerns-over-police

For a firsthand account and photos of the demonstration, see: http://disabledpeopleprotest.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/atos-origin-and-triton-sqwe-were-kettled/

Editorial Comment: Atos Origin is a large multi-national company based in France and having a yearly turnover of about €5.127 billion (2009).

It has been alleged that the company, operators of the DWP's Medical Testing Programme, often finds large number of severely disabled people fit for work. They then have to take the matter through a long appeal process to overturn the findings. Even terminally ill people have been found fit for work by Atos. Around 40% of cases are won on appeal.

In most of lines of work, six out of ten would be considered a pretty inefficient service. More importantly, for the four out of ten who are unfairly denied benefit, such shoddy practice will prove devastating.

 

Comments:

Comment added 15/2-11 at 22.43 by: author (a.j.cope@gamil.com)

I've had nothing but trouble with Atos. 3 times they refused my disability and 3 times I have appealed and finally won full higher rate care and motorbity, but the stress their "Highly trained health care professionals" cause is disabling on its own.

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