Huddersfield protestors campaign against Paralympic sponsor Atos

By Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner Sep 1 2012

CAMPAIGNERS have rallied in Huddersfield against a Paralympic Games sponsor.

Fifteen people gathered outside the job centre on Southgate yesterday morning to protest about Atos Healthcare.

The French company won a £110m Government contract to assess 2.6 million incapacity benefit and employment support allowance claimants to determine if they are able to work.

But campaigners claim Atos is unfairly targeting sick and disabled people.

Martin Jones, who organised yesterday’s protest in Huddersfield, said: “They are ruthlessly culling people. It’s absolutely disgraceful.

“The number of people who successfully appeal is incredibly high.”

The demonstration in Huddersfield was one of many across the UK in a day of action against Atos.

Protestors from Disabled People Against Cuts and UK Uncut gathered outside the company’s headquarters in Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff and London yesterday.

The demonstrations came as a leading anti-Atos campaigner passed away.

Cancer sufferer Cecilia Burns died yesterday.

The 51-year-old from Strabane in Northern Ireland had her employment support allowance cut by £30 a week in February after Atos decided she was fit to work – even though she was still being treated for breast cancer at the time.

Atos is the main sponsor of the Paralympic Games, which are currently taking place in London.

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