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Campaigners gear up for mass rallies against Atos

Thousands of disabled people have been ordered back to work by privateer Atos, regardless of their disabilities

Trade unionists, anti-cuts campaigners and disabled people are joining forces today to stage nationwide protests against government attacks on disabled people.

Thousands of disabled people have been ordered back to work by privateer Atos, regardless of their disabilities, and had their disability benefit payments stopped.

Campaigners claim some have been driven to suicide through losing their benefits.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said 10,600 people died within six weeks of being declared "fit for work" by Atos.

"This alone should have set alarm bells ringing that the assessments were not fit for purpose," he said.

"We are calling on the government to stop this degrading policy and introduce a fairer transparent system that restores dignity to the sick and disabled."

Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being handed to Atos to carry out the "work-capability assessments" dreamt up by Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr Duncan Smith has admitted he is considering swapping Atos for another private provider but public service union PCS has called for tests to be brought back in house.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: "It is a scandal that the likes of Atos are profiting from this government's cold and calculating assault on sick and disabled people.

"The demeaning tests should be scrapped and the work to provide the kind of professional and caring support that disabled people need and deserve should be brought back in-house."

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