Around 2,000 workers at Atos IT Services and Atos Healthcare, who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), are going on strike on Tuesday (5 November) in a row over pay.
According to the union, Atos have offered IT services staff a 2.8 percent pay rise, which includes acceptance of changes to longstanding terms and conditions for IT staff, such as those made to annual leave and flexible working arrangements. Healthcare staff have been offered a two percent rise.
PCS believes that these offers are too low.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “PCS members will take action unless they get a fair pay deal. If the company can afford a 14 percent pay rise for its chief executive, it can afford to reward its low-paid, hard-working staff fairly.
“Our members are angry and determined. [They] are being asked to suffer austerity whilst the cream from the £1.6 billion government contracts that Atos hold is skimmed off for the bosses and shareholders of this multinational company.”
The union said that hundreds of the staff taking part in the 5 November action had their salaries raised to just the living wage level as part of last year’s pay settlement.
“They remain low paid workers,” PCS said.
It said that even the highest pay increase offered now is below inflation, which, coupled with raised pension contributions that Atos has required from many of its staff since September, have represented a “serious cut” in living standards.
In contrast, PCS highlighted that Atos’ chief executive and chairman, Thierry Breton, saw his pay increase by £279,992, nearly 14 percent, taking his total pay and benefits package to £2.3 million.
As well as the walkout on Tuesday, staff are planning to ‘work to rule’ from the 6 November. The union warned that the strike is likely to be the first in a series of walkouts.
Atos said that robust contingency plans are in place to maintain services during the industrial action.
"The changes we have put forward are in order to sustain our business for the future and we have made a fair and competitive offer and are disappointed in this position," the company said in a statement. "The offer we have put forward is substantial in the current economic and reward climates."
It added: "This strike action does not reflect the view of the vast majority of our employees."
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