27 November 2012
Disabled protesters occupied the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games headquarters in an attempt to have IT firm Atos dropped as an official sponsor.
The action took place at the Albion Street offices of the Games on Tuesday at around 11am, when around 25 protesters occupied part of the facility.
It came in response to the unveiling of French firm Atos as a commercial sponsor for the Games. The protesters left Commonwealth House at around 1.30pm.
The business has been criticised for its work as part of a £110m-a-year contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to conduct work capability assessments, which decide whether the ill and disabled are able to work.
Citizens United activists are behind the protest, which includes several disabled people who have dealt with Atos in recent years.
Sean Clerkin, of the group, said: “We want Atos removed as a sponsor of the Commonwealth Games. People are being passed fit for work when they are not – it’s a target-driven culture.
“The chief executive was in London, so we did not put our views to him. We will now be writing to all MSPs to ask them to back our campaign.”
Atos said they collect information from assessments designed by the Department of Work and Pensions and do not make decisions on an individuals’ entitlement to benefit.
A spokeswoman said: “While we fully respect people’s right to peaceful protest and understand this is a highly emotive issue, Atos is proud to be an official supporter of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee providing games management systems and information systems.
“We hope people will view the Games, as we do, as an opportunity to celebrate sporting achievements.”
In March, Atos was unveiled as a sponsor for Glasgow 2014, when it was confirmed the IT firm would provide “accreditation systems” for 70,000 Games participants, as well as systems to facilitate the recruitment and management of volunteers for the event.
A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 said: “We are very proud to have global IT experts Atos as part of Glasgow 2014’s sponsor family. As a worldwide IT partner for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the company has demonstrated unwavering commitment to driving forward the Paralympic movement by providing dedicated practical support to athletes for the last ten years.
“An important consideration for us is how a sponsor will contribute to the mission and ambitions of Glasgow 2014 and we are confident in the positive role Atos will play in helping us deliver an athlete centred and sports focused Commonwealth Games.”
She added: “A small group of protesters staged a short protest at Commonwealth House today. They departed peacefully. Strathclyde Police was informed.”