Atos set to be target of new protests over sponsorship of Glasgow 2014
Sunday, 16 September 2012
September 16 - A new campaign against Olympic worldwide partner Atos is set to be launched with the aim of getting Glasgow 2014 to drop them as a sponsor of the Commonwealth Games.
The move follows protests around the Paralympics, where the French multi-national IT firm was a sponsor despite criticism that its work assessments have caused thousands of people to lose their disability living allowances.
Disability activists are angry that the French multi-national IT firm carries out "fit for work" assessments on behalf of the British Government as part of a multi-million pound contract with the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP).
Atos, which employs 1,500 people in Scotland, was unveiled as a Glasgow 2014 sponsor in March at a ceremony attended by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and former world mile record holder and BBC Television commentator Steve Cram.
The company are due supply Glasgow 2014 with software to accredit up to 50,000 athletes, officials, media representatives and volunteers, plus results systems, medal tables and the Games website.
But more than 30 Scottish National Party (SNP) MSPs have signed Holyrood motions critical of Atos in the last month as criticism of the firm has steadily mounted.
Sean Clerkin of Citizens United, which represents people at Atos assessments, said there were already plans to occupy Glasgow 2014 premises as a protest against the sponsorship.
"Atos are not a fit and proper organisation to be part of the Commonwealth Games, so there will be protests," she told today's edition of The Sunday Herald.
"Atos should be dropped completely as a sponsor.
"They're just profiteering on the misery of disabled people."
But, just as International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe staunchly defended Atos' involvement in the Paralympics, Glasgow 2014 appear unlikely to back down over the controversial partnership.
"As a worldwide IT Partner for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Atos has demonstrated unwavering commitment to driving forward the Paralympic movement by providing dedicated practical support to athletes for the last ten years," a spokesman for Glasgow 2014 told insidethegames.
"All sponsorship deals are assessed on a number of levels, and a very important consideration for us is how a sponsor will contribute to the mission and ambitions of Glasgow 2014, and we're very proud to have global IT experts Atos as part of our Family."
Atos, a worldwide Olympic sponsor since 1992, also appear unaffected by the latest threat of protests.
"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," a spokesman said.
August 2012: Olympic sponsor targeted by angry disability groups over links to London 2012 Paralympics
March 2012: Atos newest Official Supporter of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games