PCS members at Atos vote “Yes” to action over pay

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Staff working for an Olympics sponsor at the centre of the government’s controversial cuts to disability benefits have voted for strikes over poverty pay.

Multi-million pound company Atos, which was the focus of two investigative TV reports last night, is refusing to improve a below inflation pay offer or commit to becoming a ‘living wage’ employer, and now faces strikes later this month.

PCS represents more than 1,600 workers across Atos Healthcare – the division with the contract to run work capability assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions – and Atos IT Services.

The union’s Healthcare members, who are administrative and reception staff, voted by 76% for strikes and 86% for other forms of industrial action.

IT staff – who work on a range of contracts, including round-the-clock technological support to the BBC and back-up on MoT test centre systems for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency – voted 71% for strikes and 93% for action short of a strike.

In an email to staff last week, the company’s chief executive Thierry Breton announced Atos was again “on track to achieve all our targets” for revenue and profits, adding: “You can be very proud to have strongly contributed to this success.”

On the Olympics tie-up, he wrote: “The Olympic Games will be an ideal opportunity for us to show to our clients, partners and stakeholders what powering progress is all about. It is our collective responsibility to maximize the benefits of our Olympic Games exposure to showcase Atos at its best in terms of know-how, portfolio and capabilities.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Atos is desperate to bolster its damaged image by its association with the Olympic spirit of hard work and success, but that the reality is that it makes its profits on the backs of its low-paid staff and from taxpayer handouts.

“The TV investigations offer an insight into how this company is aiding the government’s drive to cut billions of pounds of support for sick and disabled people, and we support all those campaigning against this as well as backing staff fighting for better pay.”


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