Atos staff could walk out during Olympics


Atos staff could walk out during Olympics

Karl Flinders

Over 1,500 workers in the IT services and healthcare units of supplier Atos could go on strike during the Olympics after being offered a below-inflation pay rise.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is balloting workers after 95% of Atos Healthcare staff and 89% of Atos IT staff rejected the new pay deal.

Workers could strike during the Olympic Games in London, where Atos is the official Olympics system integrator in charge of the complex IT that underpins the Games, and is also a sponsor.

The 400 Atos Healthcare staff are in administration and reception while the IT staff involved work on contracts, including providing technology support to the BBC, IT support to the Welsh Assembly, and back-up and fault diagnosis on MoT test centre systems for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

The below-inflation pay rise offered comes as Atos increased its profit by 6.7% to £280m.

“Despite this [profit, Atos] has refused to improve its offer, and has refused to commit to becoming a 'living wage' employer - which would only mean paying staff £7.20 an hour, or £8.30 an hour in London,” said the PCS.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka added: "In sponsoring the Olympics Atos would like the world to associate it with a spirit of effort and success, but the reality is that it makes its millions on the backs of its low-paid staff.”

He also highlighted Atos’ involvement in carrying out assessments of people’s ability to work as part of the government's review of eligibility for sickness benefits. "The treatment of its own workers is given an added significance by its connection with the government's brutal plans to cut vital benefits for sick and disabled people," said Serwotka.

Atos said in a statement: “We are currently in discussions with PCS and have made a fair and competitive offer. We have robust contingency plans in place to avoid any disruption to services in the event of a strike.”

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