Sunday, 23 February 2014

PCS must condemn the use of death threats

The PCS union issued the following statement last week:

We are supporting a national day of action against multinational ATOS and the work capability assessments.

The protests, supported by campaign groups Disabled people Against the Cuts (DPAC) and Black Triangle, on Wednesday (19th February), are aimed at the hugely unpopular work capability assessments, carried out by the French multinational.

We are backing these protests as part of our campaign against the coalition government’s welfare reforms.

ATOS has been rightly criticised for its poor performance, but is one of a number of private companies doing very well out of the outsourcing of government contracts.

Our members working for ATOS have no involvement in the Work Capability Assessment. In fact we are currently in dispute with ATOS over pay, which branches should be aware of already.

The union went on to call on Branches to support the day of action last week. 

However a problem has arisen in the issuing of "death threats" against ATOS staff which raises concerns for PCS members, especially in branches like mine which share a building with an ATOS centre.

The Daily Mirror reports:

Many Atos staff have received death threats both in person and over the internet as well as bullying at the firm’s centres.

Atos said 163 incidents of the public assaulting or abusing staff were recorded each month last year.

Whilst such threats are not entirely new, PCS members working in DWP face abuse, violence and death threats working in Job Centres on a daily basis. 

If extremists working in similar campaigns get away with this, then they may be encouraged to step up attacks on union members who are faced with having to implement Government policy as part of their daily duties.

The General Secretary Mark Serwotka must issue a statement condemning the use of death threats in any campaign with which the union has chosen to associate itself and make it quite clear that PCS will call for the full force of the law to be used against those who threaten and attack its' members.

There are those who will see this as a victory for threats of violence. One poster on a left-wing chat room wrote:

I hope that these death threats haven't just been the few tame twitter comments shown on BBC News, I hope that some of these fuckers really fear for their lives.

The use or threat of violence is unacceptable in the labour and trade union movement.

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