Picket times - From 5p.m. on Thursday 17th January to catch people going home from work and late night shoppers. And anytime on Saturday 19th January.
The Co-Op have said that their new occupational health contract starts in March and that the bidding process for the new contract has already begun. The Co-Op have refused to publicly rule out a bid from Atos. Tendering processes are generally geared towards awarding the contract to the lowest bidder. If the Co-Op were going to make their decision based on ethical concerns, which they have said will be a factor, they would have already publicly rejected a bid from Atos. Atos's unethical behaviour has already been well documented in the mainstream media and Disabled People Against Cuts have compiled a list of Atos's unethical behaviour for the Co-Op. Pickets with calls for boycotts and communication blockades and the resulting damage to a company's reputation does have a significant economic impact and has been shown to work with other campaigns. The Co-Op is particularly vulnerable to such tactics as their ethical image is their unique selling point in their part of the market.
Details of the Communications blockade on Thursday 17th January from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. can be found here:
Some background information:
It has recently been discovered that the Co-Op Bank and group of companies have had a 4 year occupational health contract with Atos and that the contract is due for renewal. Atos make huge profits carrying out work capability assessments on sick and disabled people on behalf of the Government. As was exposed by a Channel 4 documentary they automatically pass 7 out of 8 people as fit for work - to comply with Government targets for benefit cuts. Their decisions are not based on objective medical opinion. Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland have received 24,000 complaints about Atos. CAB win 80% of appeals against Atos finding people fit for work. The Daily Record reported on a Government survey that showed half of those found fit for work by Atos end up destitute.
The Government are cutting benefits as part of their austerity measures aimed mainly at the poor, while those responsible for the public debt continue to get richer. Despite the media headlines about one or two bankers losing their bonuses, generally bankers' bonuses and those of company directors continue to grow. Sales in luxury goods are also rising. Nearly 50,000 new property millionaires were created in the UK in 2012. £2 billion of cuts in housing benefit and child tax credit where announced in the chancellor's autumn statement, while £3 billion of cuts in corporation tax was announced in the same statement.
The Co-Op sells itself as an ethical company, but what ethical standards are they maintaining by not publicly ruling out awarding a new contract that gives millions to a company that cuts the benefits of sick and disabled people?
Claimants Resisting Unfair Treatment, Cuts and Harassment http://www.thecrutchcollective.blogspot.co.uk
Clydeside Industrial Workers Of The World
Glasgow Solidarity Federation
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/488541864531259/
The Glasgow picket will be at the Co-Op's new flagship food store at 143 Sauchiehall Street. At least 3 other pickets are being planned in Dundee, London and Southampton. More details to follow.