Organising against ATOS in Glasgow – January reports

The millionaire gangsters of the Coalition government, along with their friends in the banks and the media, continue to turn the screw on the working class and poor –  more welfare cuts, rising unemployment, workfare, hospital closures, bedroom taxes for benefit recipients and tax cuts for the rich.

Not to be outdone, Glasgow’s Labour council has announced more closures of learning disability centres while paying off ‘charity’ chief execs £500,000 and council leader Gordon Matheson does the dirty in local parks while wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money in a corrupt and ill-fated attempt to sell-off George Square.

But never fear – Glasgow Against ATOS is here! Throughout January, we have continued to organise and protest against the war being waged on the sick and disabled. Seize the time! Join the campaign!

On Wednesday 16 January, we held our biggest organising meeting yet, as 25 people came along to discuss how to disrupt the vicious ATOS juggernaut which is killing over 70 people a week on behalf of the DWP. Ideas were discussed for future protests and targets, such as the new contract with ATOS signed by the Post Office, and victories such as the Co-op’s decision to drop its deal with ATOS. Future meetings and protests were planned, actions against the Commonwealth Games and excellent new anti-ATOS t-shirts, stickers and leaflets.

On Wednesday 23 January, campaign members supported a protest organised by UNISON outside Glasgow city chambers alongside hundreds of other service users, workers and campaigners to oppose the closure of three learning disability day care centres in Glasgow (Summerston, Cardonald and Hinshaw Street). This is yet another brutal cut aimed at the most vulnerable, and speaker after speaker

On Thursday 24 January, Glasgow Against ATOS activists joined a Citizens United occupation of the Scottish Government offices in Glasgow city centre, to demand that ATOS be dropped as lead sponsors of the Commonwealth Games 2014.

On Friday 25 January, nearly 30 people braved the driving wind and rain to join our monthly picket outside the ATOS testing centre on Cadogan Street, offering support and solidarity to those forced through the Work Capability Assessments inside.

Supporters of several groups including Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, the Black Triangle Disability Rights Campaign, the Socialist Party and 32CSM then joined a rolling picket of targets throughout Glasgow city centre. The massive ‘Glasgow Against ATOS’ banner was unfurled outside the Royal Bank of Scotland, the offices of the Scottish Sun and the swanky offices of the Commonwealth Games, as activists took to the megaphone to denounce the obscene situation whereby the ruling class are forcing the poorest in society to pay for a crisis of the rich. We received vocal support from members of the public and people personally affected by benefits cuts as we exposed the real ‘scroungers’ and ‘shirkers’.

And on Wednesday 30 January, GAA campaigners headed down to Toryglen Asda to an event promoted by Labour councillor, and Commonwealth Games Chief Executive, Archie Graham to get unsuspecting local residents to hand over their free labour time to the Games as volunteers. The esteemed councillor unsurprisingly failed to show up to such unglamorous environs but campaigners nevertheless confronted the lies and cover-ups of the Commonwealth Games and distributed leaflets and petitions about the reality of ATOS, the closure of the Accord centre and the eviction of Margaret Jaconelli.

So, lots being done and lots more to do! Head down to the next meetings and protests:

Wednesday 13 February, 7 – 9pm

Glasgow Against ATOS action meeting (disabled access, all welcome)

Wednesday 13 February, 7 – 9pm

Unite the Union offices, 145 West Regent Street, Glasgow city centre 

Monthly picket of ATOS! Kill ATOS!

Friday 22 February, assemble 12.30pm

Meet outside ATOS testing centre, Cadogan Street, Glasgow city centre

 ATOS protest - ATOS Dr Death ATOS protest - ATOS offices ATOS protest - offices of The Sun ATOS protest - police at Commonwealth Games office ATOS protest - RBS


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