A coalition of anti-cut campaigners, Resist Unjust Cuts (RUC), marched to ATOS Derry offices on the Strand Road yesterday afternoon.
ATOS is the private company behind the Social Security’s, work capability assessments (WCA). The WCA system was heavily criticised due to the high percentage of those who had the decision saying they were fit to work, overturned on appeal.
Protestors yesterday accused ATOS of “hypocrisy” due to its sponsorship of the Paralympics. One banner read ‘ATOS sponsoring the Paralympics is like a cigarette company supporting Cancer Awareness Week.’ Addressing supporters as they had gathered under the Olympic screen in Waterloo Place, Eamonn McCann, said: “We must harness the suppressed anger there is against the cuts, as, unless we organise to resist them, we make certain they will happen. We must,” he stressed, “turn anger into action. This attack on the weakest in our society is on such a scale that we must hit them back as hard as they are hitting us. ATOS are a private company doing the dirty work of government.”
The scores of protestors, including several SDLP elected representatives, Social Workers Party and Unison, then proceeded to the offices of ATOS. Organisers of the RUC called for others to join their umbrella group and assist in their “direct action and civil disobedience campaign.”
The group vowed to march every Thursday and issued an open invite to “anyone interested in fighting these cuts with more than platitudes” to attend a meeting at Disability Action Offices, Strand Road at 8pm next Tuesday to discuss a “plan of action.”
For Mark H Durkan’s reaction to ATOS see more on page 47.