The Problem with ATOS

Posted: October 4, 2012 in anarchy, controversy, politics

You may have heard of ATOS, they have been in the news quite often lately.  But who exactly are they?  What do they do?  And why does it seem like so many people have such a huge problem with them?  Let’s start by being honest and showing you who ATOS say they are.  Then, let’s take a look at why this company is the scum of the earth and what you can do to tell them that their business is not ok.

Who Are ATOS?

ATOS was one of the main sponsors of the Olympic Games.  Together with other ever so sporty sponsors, like MacDonald’s, Coca Cola and Visa…  ATOS is a company that focuses on IT services.  They generate 8.5 billion Euros per year and employ 74,000 people in 48 countries.  So yeah, they are everywhere.  What they do is deliver all sorts of IT consultancy services in all sorts of different industries.  They basically say that their IT systems are almost full proof and that they can deal with any type of project.  Ok, doesn’t sound so bad, does it?  Everybody needs IT and if they are providing a fantastic service, then what’s the big deal?

The Big ATOS Deal

Take a wild guess at what sort of contract ATOS has been awarded in the UK?  Obviously, the government wants to cut their budget and they think the way to do this is to overhaul the benefit system.  Because, obviously, the real money is in benefits and not in tax dodgers and millionaires in this country.  ATOS has been awarded a contract of £100 million per year (yes, when the government is making “savings”) and their role is conduct interviews with people who claim disability benefits.  They have designed a system that will test whether or not they are actually fit for work.  That is the problem with Atos.  And it isn’t just disabled people who are worried about seeing their benefits cut who have a problem with this.  MPS has voiced their opposition, as has the British Medical Association.  They have both called for an immediate halt to Atos’ system.  The system was also reviewed by Dispatches, who showed that staff using the system were put under pressure to declare people fit to work.

This is wrong for so many reason that I don’t even have the space to write it all down here.  But here are some facts for you: a number of people have now died due to their disabilities, who were declared fit and healthy by the Atos program.  Oh and in terms of saving money, the statistics show that only 0.5% of disability claims are fraudulent, but the government aims to save 20% on their welfare bill.  This means 19.5% of disabled people (who actually are disabled) will be forced into work when they are actually incapable to do so.

What Has Been Done?

There have been many anti-ATOS protests recently and they are set to continue.  A big focus came on ATOS during the Olympics, when UK Uncut organised demonstrations all across the country.  Also, a coffin filled with messaged from people who have fallen victim to Atos’ program has been delivered to their Head Quarters in London.  In Cardiff, a mass die-in was staged, Armchair Olympics have been organised and the ATOS Sheffield centre found itself stormed.  Also, protestors were able to jam ATOS’ phone and email lines for a whole day.

All I can say is keep your eye out for further ATOS protests and join in where you can.  Every little helps as they say right!  By the way, you too can email ATOS to annoy them a bit, mainly on customer-relations@atoshealthcare.com.  Have fun!

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