The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members who work for Atos, the French multinational company who run a number of privatised Government contracts, are to strike on Tuesday, November 5 in a row over pay.
Around 2,000 PCS members who administer the DWP medical examinations, work in National Savings, the Equitable Life compensation scheme and who deliver IT support for customers such as the BBC will be involved in the action.
Atos have offered staff who work in healthcare a 2% rise and those who work in IT services 2.8% (this offer includes acceptance of changes to longstanding terms and conditions for IT staff such as to annual leave and flexible working arrangements).
The strike on November 5 is likely to be the first in a series of walkouts that will seriously affect the company’s ability to meet Government service level agreements on all of the contracts where PCS organise. The Union will also embark on a “work to rule” from November 6 that will impact on the company’s performance.
PCS believe that their members deserve an increase on the offer made for a number of reasons.
• Even the highest offer made to staff is below inflation
• In September Atos raised the pension contributions of many of their staff, despite the pension scheme being sound financially. Coupled to a below inflation offer this represents a serious cut in living standards
• Hundreds of those staff taking part in November 5 action had their pay raised to the living wage as part of last year’s pay settlement. They remain low paid workers.
• Contrast this below inflation increase to the Atos Chief Executive and Chairman Thierry Breton. Last year he received a near 14% rise of £279,992 .taking his total wage and reward Package to £2,329,250
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said : “PCS members will take action unless they get a fair pay deal. If the company can afford a 14% pay rise for its Chief Executive it can afford to reward its low paid hard working staff fairly.”
“Our members are angry and determined. Like workers elsewhere they have seen the money in their pockets and purses reduce, whilst food costs, energy costs, transport costs soar. This must end. Our members are being asked to suffer austerity whilst the cream from the £1.6 billion Government contracts that Atos hold is skimmed off for the bosses and shareholders of this multinational company.”
(from a press release)