Monday, 24 February 2014

The Beginning of the End?

The Atos Stories Collective was formed in 2011 in response to the horror stories that were beginning to emerge at the time. Stories about people like George,  who died from a heart attack after Atos twice failed to put him in the work support group or  Matthew found fit to work even though he has limited language and understanding of the world, fuelled a desire to act. When Atos threatened to sue its critics we decided we'd like to do something about it. Two of us who met on-line formed the Collective and invited others to join in by sending us their stories.  Over the course of six month we received emails, blogposts, and information via social media, and we wrote Atos Stories, The Atos Monologues and Atos Street Theatre.

From 2012 till now, the plays have been published on-line (first at Scribd, and then later at the WOW petition), been used at demonstrations and vigils, as part of a mass action via social media and the main play has been performed by Act Up! Newham. And as time has passed, we've been delighted to see more and more people becoming aware of, and protesting about the Work Capability Assessment and Atos' involvement. Even better, we've heard that Atos has been seeking ways to get out of the contract, a sure sign that a policy has become toxic, something that was confirmed last week. (With typical gall, they claimed it was death threats from the disabled people they've been harassing that have pushed them out, yeah...right)

Today, comes the best news of all. Our friend and brilliant campaigner Sue Marsh posted on her blog that with Atos on the way out, the DWP are scrapping reassessment of WCA's indefinitely till they can find another organisation to take it on. Of course, it's not over yet. People are still getting assessed and unfortunately Atos will stick around for the time being, still using the terrible DWP descriptors and still wrongly finding people fit for work. But at least, this gives those people who have been through the process, and won their appeals a breathing space... And, given the protests Atos has faced and the damage to its reputation, one has to ask whether there's another company willing to take the risk of bidding to run such a discredited process.

It's right to be cautious, but even so this is a major victory in the battle to scrap the WCA. And campaigns are won, bit by bit. It's not the end, but it's the beginning of the end, and for that, tonight, we should all celebrate.

1 comment:

  1. I Had an assement by atos and it was a nurse not a doctor but seems that's OK.but is it OK for the nurse to lie in here report she said I had refused to do the exercise part of the test. But she told me there was no point as it would cause me to much pain. How many others of the staff have lied in reports and were they paid to lie ????????