Unite members to protest about Atos’ ‘capability’

Unite members to protest about Atos’ ‘capability’

18 February 2014

Members of Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, are to join disabled campaigners in peaceful demonstrations outside Atos work assessment centres across the country tomorrow (Wednesday 19 February).

Atos – a profit driven multi-national company hired by the government to assess the capability of disabled people to work – has increasingly come under fire for its treatment of disabled people attending for work capability assessments.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The government’s own figures last year showed that 10,600 people died within six weeks of being declared ‘fit for work’ by Atos. This alone should have set alarm bells ringing that the assessments were not fit for purpose.

“We are calling on the government to stop this degrading policy and introduce a fairer transparent system that restores dignity to the sick and disabled.”

Over 40 per cent of cases where people have been deemed fit to work, and had their benefits cut have had their appeals upheld. However the appeals process can take months while some of the most vulnerable disabled are plunged into poverty.

The ‘tick-box’ nature of the tests does not cater for the complex nature of peoples illnesses, particularly for those with mental illness. This has also led, in some cases, to those with long-term degenerative and terminal illnesses, such as Parkinson’s and cancer, being told they are fit for work.


For more information contact Unite communications officer Martin Scanlon on 07764 655 751.

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1

Notes to editors: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey. 
  • Unite Community membership scheme and our community coordinators aim to bring together, help give a voice to and organise those in our communities who would normally not be heard. 
Unite community members will be supporting peaceful demonstrations at the following Atos assessment centres: 

Ealing - 3rd Floor, Broadway House, Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London, W13 8RA

North East, Yorkshire & Humberside
Newcastle - Arden House, Regent Centre, Regent Farm South, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 3LZ 
Durham - Elvet House, Hallgarth Street, Durham, DX11 3BP 
Sheffield - 1 Hartshead Square, Sheffield, S1 2FD (NUM) 
Leeds - Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UA 
Bradford - Wool Exchange Buildings, 22 Bank Street, Bradford, BD1 1PR 

South East
Portsmouth - 316 – 334 Wingfield House, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 4TA
Guildford - Leys House, 86-88 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4QD
Reading - Eaton Court, 104-112 Oxford Road, Reading, RG1 7LL

South West
Swindon Assessment Centre, Spring Gardens House, Princes Street, Swindon SN1 2HY 
Salisbury Assessment Centre, Summerlock House, Summerlock Approach, Salisbury, SP2 7RW 
Bristol Assessment Centre, Government Buildings, Flowers Hill, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 5LA 
Exeter assessment Centre, Unit 4, Ground Floor, Killerton House, Park Five Harrier Way, Exeter EX2 7HU 
Yeovil Assessment Centre, 44 Hendford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1UW 
Plymouth Assessment Centre, Argosy House, Longbridge Road, Plympton, PL6 8LS 

Swansea - 12pm - Swansea Assessment Centre, 4th Floor, Grove House, Grove Place, SA1 5DF
Wrexham - Ty Maelor, 15-17 Grosvenor Rd, Wrexham, LL11 1BW

West Midlands
Birmingham - Five Ways House, Islington Row Middleway, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1SL
Stoke - Ridgehouse Drive, Festival Park, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5SJ
Worcester - Vine House, Farrier Street, Worcester, WR1 3EL