Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2393

When will there be justice for all the victims of Atos?

I only have one question for Atos Healthcare—why are 18 of my friends dead? They died after going through the horrific process of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the “fit for work” tests Atos carries out on behalf of the government. Many took their own life.

Atos has announced it wants to pull out of their contract to assess whether people are “fit for work”. But the fight is not over. I’m going through the horrific wait at the moment to see how they’ll assess me. This is my second go around with Atos, and the stress is horrible.

I’m not sleeping because I’m worrying so much about it. Waiting for that brown envelope to come through the letter box is to live every day in fear.

I feel physically sick. I dread it when the post comes—will it be today? It’s torture.

The last time I was waiting for the outcome of the WCA, I tried to kill myself. The wait was horrendous. Before that I was hospitalised after a friend of mine committed suicide two weeks before Christmas, leaving three kids behind because of the stress.

I was in such a bad way that the doctor banned any mention of the words Atos or brown envelope. 

That is what they did to me.

So many people are in this terrible limbo. 

The horrendous process has made my health even worse. It’s hard being a campaigner and seeing all the people who have been affected. All those who are hungry and those who have been hit by the bedroom tax.

Thousands of disabled people have died shortly after undergoing the WCA. This is an ideological attack on disabled people—this government has got blood on its hands.

The motivational force for us is to get the voices of all those who are no longer with us heard. To tell people about the blood that has been spilt.

We will never be silent. Not on this. We will fight for justice.

Paula Peters, , South London

We must all fight for migrants’ rights

I recently went to a protest at Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port called by the RMT union. The protest was in support of French seafarers who had occupied a ferry in St. Malo demanding trade union recognition.

Condor Ferries get round French and British minimum wage legislation to pay migrant workers as little as £2.35 an hour. These are often recruited from eastern Europe, work very long hours and don’t get off the ships for months on end.

Using legal loopholes to exploit migrant workers has been called “social dumping”. This refers to firms dumping their social responsibilities. No one I spoke to on the protest said they wanted tougher laws against migrant labour.

However I don’t like the term because I think it can be misunderstood as being negative about migrant workers. 

Throughout history bosses have tried to divide workers by paying migrant workers less. Workers must always respond by fighting for rights for everyone, regardless of where they have come from. 

Jon Woods, , Portsmouth

It’s important we say ‘fascist’ not ‘far right’

Socialist Worker complains that “The fact that open fascists have been playing a leading role” in Ukraine is ignored by the media (Socialist Worker, 1 March). But on the same page it refers to Svoboda and Right Sector as “far right” rather than fascist.

This is a mealy mouthed formulation loved by the bourgeois media.The Nazi pedigree of both organisations is beyond question. Both are racist, antisemitic, anti-worker, violent and profoundly undemocratic.

This isn’t just nit-picking. Socialist Worker has an unblemished record of identifying fascism and challenging it. The uprising in Ukraine has confused many on the left. We need to be precise about the politics of the forces involved to respond.

Sasha Simic, , East London

Stop cuts to travel

Older and disabled people in South Yorkshire are being put under immense pressure because of plans to cut their free travel. Because of cuts, The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) will no longer be allowed from 31 March.

People in Barnsley are going to be campaigning to put a halt to the plans. Sadly, some Labour councillors have had a hand in this. Labour shouldn’t be doing the Tories’ dirty work for them.

But we can stop the cuts if we get organised.

Julie Ingram, , Barnsley

Let’s build anti-racism 

Legoland in Windsor caved into threats from racists like the English Defence League and cancelled a family outing, organised by a well known Muslim scholar.The day also attracted vicious Islamophobia from Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail. Fascists said they would “protest”.

Though seriously weakened by mobilisations by Unite Against Fascism and others, small fascist elements are still seeking to come together. They are doing this by feeding off mainstream xenophobia.

It’s important that we build the Stand Up to Racism demo on 22 March to show the strength of opposition against them.

Paul Sillett, , East London

Muslims bring aid to flooded

While politicians have been dragging their heels over the floods, Muslim Aid has shown solidarity with victims. By offering their assistance to residents, walls have been broken down. But it’s easier for some to slander Muslims as not part of society. It is regrettable that the response from Muslims hasn’t received more attention. Working to the benefit of our communities cannot be stressed enough. Action produces results! 

Mohammad Ashraf, Manchester

Unions should fight together

Page 18 of Socialist Worker reads like a list of isolated, though important, strikes taking place over the country by different unions and for different reasons. When are trade unions going to wake up and realise that these strikes are against one enemy? We can defeat the political elite tomorrow. Union leaders should call a national strike now—the time has never been more right.

Eddie Rocks by email

Scotland has a cruel history

The article by Alex Callinicos on the Scottish indepence referendum (Socialist Worker, 15 February) didn’t explain the histiorical role of Scotland as a cruel bastion of British imperialism. The Union of the Crowns happened under a Scottish monarch, James I, who supervised the plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century by Scottish settlers. The guilt of the British Empire lies on Scotland too.

Zekria Ibrahimi by email 

The Tories are not fit to work

Sheila Holt had been in a two-month coma when she was told she had to do “intensive job-focused activity”. I’m sick of hearing of the way people are being treated because of the Tories’ welfare reforms. Time to kick them out.

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Article information

Tue 4 Mar 2014, 18:55 GMT
Issue No. 2393
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