Atos Origin certainly know how to keep themselves busy. Atos, for those unfamiliar with the group, is the company contracted by the government to carry out Work Capability Assessments, the tool used to evaluate whether someone is eligible for disability benefits – or, to put it another way, the tool used to prevent people from obtaining them.
The company has been nicknamed “Lourdes” by some disability activists for its apparently miraculous healing powers – folks with terminal diseases and permanent disabilities need only enter their premises in order to be healed and found fit for work. There is, of course, the slight issue that around 40 percent of appeals against their judgements are successful, and that their employees have been exposed as describing those being assessed as “parasites”. Plus a whole host of other complaints and concerns that collectively make people a little less than supportive.
Atos has, as a consequence, been targetted for protests by disability campaigners, anti-cuts activists and others (including a picket in York), with the next Day of Action being called for 30th September. They have also been the focus for online campaigning and discussion, particularly by disability groups such as Black Triangle and Disabled People Against Cuts.
In retaliation, Atos has launched a series of legal attacks against websites and forums used to criticise them, including:
With, perhaps, more to come. Almost as if they’re sensitive to criticism for some reason. Perish the thought.
For more information:
- Atos, The Oppressors of Free Speech (Black Triangle)
- Atos moves to shut down criticism (Disabled People Against Cuts)
- Benefits critics are silenced (The Herald)