Photos of demo against Atos & WCA 28th Aug

As part of DPAC‘s week of action “The Atos Games” a protest was held outside the Atos Work Capability Assessment centre in Bournemouth. Click here for information about Atos, WCA and for helpful links.

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The Atos Games

As part of a national week of action against Atos, there will be a demonstration in Bournemouth:

Date: Tuesday 28th August
Time: 12noon – 1.30pm
Location: Atos Healthcare assessment centre at Jobcentre Plus, Tamarisk House, 1 Cotlands Road, Bournemouth BH1 3BG

Poster for event: PDF JPG
Leaflet for event: A4 A5
Facebook event page: Atos demo
Further info and links: Stop Atos Work Capability Assessments

Even if you are unable to attend, your help in sharing the details of the local event would be appreciated and please check out the following details of the week of events being organised by Disabled People Against Cuts:

DPAC – Our Atos Games

We are calling on disabled people, disabled activists, families, colleagues, friends and supporters to come together and fight back against Atos’s attacks. Atos represents as dangerous an opponent as any government, law or barrier the disability movement has faced in its long history. It’s not just welfare, but our very identity and our place within society that is under attack.
And we are asking the whole of the anti-cuts movement to join us in our opposition to the company most responsible for driving through the government’s brutal cuts agenda. Let’s make it Games over for Atos!
“We’re not against the Paralympics or the people taking part in it. We’re highlighting the hypocrisy of Atos, a company that soon may be taking disability benefits from the people winning medals for Team GB.

Ever since George Osborne announced he was slashing £18 billion from the welfare budget, the government has paid Atos £100 million a year to test 11,000 sick and disabled people every week, then decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’.

Atos uses an inhumane computer programme to do the testing, and trains its staff to push people off benefits. The government has admitted the tests are flawed, and the British Medical Association wants them to end immediately.

But Atos continues to devastate people’s lives. Many have committed suicide because of its testing programme, and over 1,000 people have died of their illnesses soon after being found ‘fit for work’.

We won’t let them get away with murder, so join in The Atos Games however you can – online, on the phone, or on the streets!

  • Monday 27th: We’ll hold a spoof Paralympic awards ceremony, hopefully with some very special guests…
  • Tuesday 28th: Pay a visit to your local Atos office – and maybe even take your protest inside!
  • Wednesday 29th: A coffin full of your messages about Atos will be delivered to its doorstep.
  • Thursday 30th: Phone jam! Let’s flood Atos with calls, and generate a Twitter-storm they can’t ignore!
  • Then on Friday 31st, join us in London where we’re teaming up with UK Uncut for the Grand Finale – an audacious, daring and disruptive action. Last time we shut down Oxford Circus, this time we will be performing miracles…!

Over the next few weeks we’ll give more details about each day of action. We’ll make sure that DPAC members and disabled people who can’t travel will be able to take part in different and accessible ways.

We’d really like YOU to make this week of action a great success! Let’s come together and show this monstrous company that we’re stronger than them. They’re the vulnerable ones and they know it.

Swanage Hospital Closure Protest

Over 1000 turned out to attend a public meeting over the closure of Swanage Hospital on July 20th at the Mowlem Theatre in Swanage. Over 450 were denied access to the meeting due to H&S concerns. Campaigners protested downstairs and on the beach until the representative of Dorset NHS was provided with a police escort to enable him to address the crowds.
Source: Purbeck Gazette

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Are all the NHS cuts, outsourcing (privatisation), closures and mergers what David Cameron meant when he was speaking at a junior doctors’ rally in 2007. Make your own mind up:

UNISON demo outside Poole Hospital

Several hundred delegates from the UNISON conference being held at the BIC in Bournemouth attended a lunchtime flash demo, on June 21st, outside Poole General Hospital in protest against the South West Pay NHS Cartel.

Sixteen NHS trusts in the South West have banded together in a bid to make “radical” changes to staff pay, terms and conditions outside of the national Agenda for Change agreement. Each trust paid £10,000 to join this cartel.

The consortium of trusts is considering a suite of proposals to reduce workforce costs by 8 per cent across the region.

A leaked document drawn up by this consortium reveals that, if a deal cannot be reached, trusts may consider dismissing staff and rehiring them on the new terms in order to force through the changes.

Plans include changes to working hours, annual leave entitlements and pay. The consortium also intends to look at “attractive, performance-driven approaches” to pay and conditions.

Poole NHS trust is a “key player” in setting up the cartel as its chief executive, Chris Bown, is chair of its steering group.

Unison say the plans will “damage patient care and drive down pay”, and threatens the future of on-going national negotiations between unions and government representatives on changes to Agenda for Change.

Unison South West state: “We believe the cartel’s approach is simply a cost cutting exercise which will affect the quality of services.”

“The consequences for the region will be disastrous; skilled health workers will be driven out of the region, taking money out of the local economy, deepening the healthcare postcode lottery.”

Unison head of health Christina McAnea, said: “The setting up of this pay cartel is a crude attempt to drive down wages, which in turn will damage the quality of patient care in all 16 trusts.

“The cartel will lead to shortages of key staff who will vote with their feet and move to hospitals where the pay is better and patients will be the ones who suffer.”

She added: “Cutting wages of hospital workers will also have a knock-on effect on already depressed economies in the South West. Health workers are already suffering from a two year pay freeze and this further assault on their pay and conditions will hit morale as well as their spending power.”

“We do not want rogue employers threatening to undermine the stability of national pay bargaining and Agenda for Change. It is not too late for those 16 trusts to do the right thing by their patients and staff and drop this damaging and divisive plan.”

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Sources: UNISONHealth Sources Journal Nursing TimesRCN

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Day Care Public Consultation Meetings

Bournemouth has already lost 2 day centres, causing the most vulnerable in society to suffer. Day Care Services review consultation meetings are taking place in the wider area, please attend and voice your concerns, where possible.

Click here for a full list of meetings taking place in June and early July.

UPDATE: On Monday 19th June, The Echo ran a story under the headline “Dorset day centre users asked to give views on cost-cutting ideas”. Click here to read full story

Report of CoR Steering Committee Meeting

The Coalition of Resistance held a Steering Committee Meeting on 25 May 2012. Listed below is a brief summary (BPACC is affiliated to CoR and was represented at this meeting):

Present: 49 members.

Romayne Phoenix, Chair, welcomed the platform speakers.

Wendy Savage, Co-Chair of Keep our NHS Public, outlined the cuts to the NHS and the privatisation agenda. The current focus of the campaign is to persuade Chairs of Clinical Commissioning Groups to adopt John Lister’s pledges of no commercial confidentiality, keeping services, and local consultation. GPs should have patient participation groups and members should use them to agitate.

Andy Bain reported on the TSSA conference and anti-austerity debate. The conference had affiliated to the Coalition of Resistance and Greek Solidarity Campaign. Linking further with trade unions was an open door for CoR.

Rachel Newton of People’s Charter stressed that the 20th October demo was an opportunity to bring many anti-cuts groups and unions together; she proposed a joint fringe on cuts at the TUC 9-12th September.

Andrew Burgin drew attention to reasons for the weakening of the government’s position since the March demonstration. The increasing crisis across Europe showed that we needed to be part of the link up with the European left, and encourage the TUC to invite international speakers. We need a committee to build for the demonstration, and will organise a central London rally.

15 members spoke from the floor. Among points made were the following:

A big demonstration could change the balance of forces; the march needs to have an NHS focus and section near the front; the NUS has called a march for the same day; the message should be ‘their crisis’, ‘no cuts’; CND is organising a ‘Cut Trident’ section on the march; should a rally be placed before or after the demo; getting speakers into local groups is important; local mobilisation via trades councils; we should use 38 degrees and online publicity.

Paul Mackney spoke from the platform on the Greek Solidarity Campaign, the recent delegation to Greece, activities and meetings, and the current party situation in Greece. The SERTUC had voted to affilate to the Greek Solidarity Campaign and there was strong support from other unions. It was suggested by Jeremy Drinkall and agreed that there would be a protest at the Greek embassy on the day of the election in Greece Sunday 17th June. Jeremy has agreed to help arrange this. The Greece Solidarity Campaign will work on this too – there is some discussion as to whether the embassy is the best place to go and we will also talk to the ‘We are all Greeks’ group. Further information about this will follow.