By Duncan Mackay

Atos 2014_Commonwealth_Games_sponsor_launch_March_16_2012September 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.

Steve Cram_and_Nicola_Sturgeon_at_launch_of_Atos_Glasgow_2014_sponsorship_March_16_2012Scotland's then Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and former world mile record holder Steve Cram helped launch the Atos sponsorship of Glasgow 2014 in March

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."

Atos protestors_at_London_2012_ParalympicsProtesters from several disability groups demonstrated against Atos' sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympics

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.

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