Atos Commonwealth Games Sport

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games headquarters occupied by protesters who want Atos dropped as official sponsor


By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

November 27, 2012 | 3 min read

The headquarters of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games saw protesters occupying part of the facility as they complained over IT firm Atos being an official sponsor and partner of the Games.

The Citizens United activists, who have now left the building, said that Atos is ‘not a fit and proper company’, citing that the work the business did for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to conduct work capability assessments (WCA). The assessments looked into whether the ill and disabled were able to work.

It is Atos Healthcare, which carries out these 15,000 face-to-face WCAs each week, which the protesters have an issue with. The division does not diagnose or treat conditions, but looks at what people can do in their day to day life.

A spokesperson from Glasgow 2014 told The Drum: “A small group of protesters staged a short protest at Commonwealth House at today. They departed peacefully. Strathclyde Police was informed.

“We are very proud to have global IT experts Atos as part of Glasgow 2014’s Sponsor Family. As a Worldwide IT Partner for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the company has demonstrated unwavering commitment to driving forward the Paralympic movement by providing dedicated practical support to athletes for the last ten years.

“An important consideration for us is how a sponsor will contribute to the mission and ambitions of Glasgow 2014 and we are confident in the positive role Atos will play in helping us deliver an athlete centred and sports focused Commonwealth Games.”

The Herald reported in September that the group may be organising a protest like this, with Sean Clerkin of Citizens United, which represents people at Atos assessments, announcing the plans for the occupation.

He said: "Atos are not a fit and proper organisation to be part of the Commonwealth Games, so there will be protests. Atos should be dropped completely as a sponsor. They're just profiteering on the misery of disabled people."

Herald reporter Gerry Braiden has tweeted that police warned Clerkin over a possible assault at the protest.

Atos explained to The Drum that the company, which has about 500 employees in Scotland, is not just a sponsor of the Games, it will also be involved in the accreditation and systems creation.

An Atos spokesperson said: “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 providing Games Management Systems and Games Information Systems.

“As a decade long partner for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Atos will be transferring knowledge and expertise gained from previous Games including London 2012 and other major events, to play our part in delivering an outstanding games in Glasgow 2014 that will deliver a lasting legacy. We hope people will view the Games, as we do, as an opportunity to celebrate sporting achievements.”

This comes on the day after Scottish IT services company NVT Group was named as Glasgow 2014’s Technology Services Integrator.

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