Sunday, 20 October 2013

ATOS Members vote for action

A recent pay offer was rejected by ATOS IT Services and ATOS Healthcare workers who balloted 80%+ support for strike action and 90%+ support for action short of strike.

Loath or love them ATOS members have voted to support industrial action; it's a shame that such numbers do not resist the quota system they're operating. A system that serves to impoverish hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people while driving thousands of others to premature deaths.  

It is beyond me why ATOS workers feel they need to comply with a flawed DWP system of assessment and the government's blatantly obvious policy of driving down numbers of benefits claimants, as in the case of ESA claimants being shoved onto JSA, a less generous benefit.

There should be no need for health care workers to slavishly obey diktats that order them to compromise their professional relationship with ill and disabled claimants. Doctors and other health care workers take a Hippocratic Oath which calls on them to uphold professional standards; to keep patients from harm and injustice.  

There are also a number of codes of practice relevant to different disciplines within medicine. Again these call for practitioners to put the health and wellbeing of the patient above other concerns.

Indeed some practitioners adhere to their oath and codes of practice, in some cases resigning rather than going against their principles. Sadly they are too few; and while these people should be celebrated for taking a princioled stance against a flawed system, one that actually coerces its workforce to ignore ethics and pander to the bottom line, they are too few to move an intransigent DWP which is ideologically driven.

Proper union organisation is what is needed amongst the ATOS healthcare workers who carry out the assessments. A properly organised and politicised group of workers with a good reps structure in place would go some way to educating these workers; maybe opening their eyes as to the real class enemy.

However, the war against the mis-assessments, repetitive and unnecessary re-assessments and the awful toll in human misery they create can only be won when a government scraps the present system. Scraps the WCA and replaces it with an assessment which is transparent, fair and relevant to the claimant. Kicking out ATOS without first scrapping the WCA with a fit for purpose alternative will merely change the name of the hate figure.  

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