Benefit cutter ATOS faces strike action


ATOS, an Olympics sponsor at the centre of the government’s controversial cuts to disability benefits, faces industrial action during the Games by Public and Commercial Services union members trying to improve poverty pay levels.

Multi-million pound company Atos has faced heavy criticism for its handling of ‘back to work’ tests on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, which disabled people and campaigners say are solely designed to cut the welfare bill.

The PCS will this week begin balloting more than 1,500 of its members across Atos Healthcare and Atos IT Services after they voted by 95 per cent and 89 per cent respectively to reject below-inflation pay offers.

This could mean workers from sites across the UK taking strike action during the Olympic Games, which lists Atos as a ‘worldwide partner’.

The union’s 400 Atos Healthcare members are administrative and reception staff and industrial action may mean health assessment centres having to close.

In the IT division, staff work on a range of contracts, including round-the-clock technological support to BBC production staff and on-air presenters across the UK, IT support to the Welsh Assembly, and back-up and fault diagnosis on MoT test centre systems for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

The latest figures show the company made annual profits worth more than £280m, a 6.7 per cent increase on the previous year.

Despite this it has refused to improve its offer, and has refused to commit to becoming a ‘living wage’ employer – which would only mean paying staff £7.20 an hour, or £8.30 an hour in London.