back to article Atos IT workers threaten strike during Olympics over 'living wage'

Atos IT workers are threatening to strike over pay in industrial action that could hit the London Olympics. The Public and Commercial Services union said it was balloting members on strike action this week after they voted not to accept "below-inflation pay offers". Over 1,500 members across Atos Healthcare and Atos IT Services …

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Megaphone

What about?

the IT workers in India or were-ever 80% of their call center staff are based. Don't they get a fair wage as well!

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Re: What about?

I'm told (although I don't have any figures to hand) that those are considered to be pretty good, well-paid jobs by the people doing them. In the UK, it's bottom of the pile. Overseas, not so much.

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Re: What about?

Taking industrial action on behalf of a third party is illegal in the UK.

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"were-ever" [sic]

Do you think that we can get our commentards outsourced too?

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Trollface

Re: What about?

Maybe it's time people in the IT industry just accepted they work low skill service industry jobs. If only they'd trained for a job that actually produces something like high-value manufacturing, scientific R&D and the creative industries this country might not be going down the drain..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about?

Fail because you included the 'creative industries' in your list.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about?

>Maybe it's time people in the IT industry just accepted they work low skill service industry jobs.

That's what RBS thought when they made 2/3rds of the IT workforce redundant and employed inexperienced, underqualified workers unfamiliar with the technology, practices and history (in a different country), I actually heard a manager once say "we don't need system administrators, just get a book", and another say "take 'creativity' off the job advert, programmers don't need to be creative".

Every bank, shop, engineering company is an IT business, from accounting to ordering, stock control, communications publicity, advertising, IT is absolutely key to [almost] every business.

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Trollface

Re: What about?

"Every bank, shop, engineering company is an IT business, from accounting to ordering, stock control, communications publicity, advertising, IT is absolutely key to [almost] every business."

None of those are actually IT jobs though, they just make use of it. These companies also all need somebody on the phones handling complaints, it's still a low skill service job though. It must be hard knowing you'll probably be replaced by a 15 year old Indian kid within the next ten years. Time to retrain perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

ah, Mr Serwotka

"...but the reality is that it makes its millions on the backs of its low-paid staff," PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, the "radical socialist", allegedly clearing £124,000 a year, said in a canned statement.

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Re: ah, Mr Serwotka

That is a fair bit of money, but I'm not sure what point you're actually making. It's not like the ballot is about striking to give him more money. Besides, you have to pay that sort of money to get the best people.

Oh, sorry, that bullshit argument only works for the managers of large companies and bankers...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ah, Mr Serwotka

the point is, if you earn that much money, don't lend your name for bitching about low-paid workers.

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Re: Bitching

It's his job to bitch about low wages, you numpty.

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Re: AC 22:38

Right, I see, if you make a decent wage you're not allowed to be concerned about those that don't. No wonder you post anonymously, that makes fuck all sense!

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Re: I don't give ATOS

"those fucking annoying automated railway announcements"

I remember when those first started and you had a clearly automated announcer's voice telling you that your train was going to be delayed and then saying "I apologise for any inconvenience" which struck me as the height (or perhaps depths) of insincerity!

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: I don't give ATOS

"I apologise for any inconvenience"

They still do this. It drives me mad. As if the station robot announcer cares that I've been in the rain for the past 20 minutes waiting for a late train.

C.

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Joke

Re: I don't give ATOS

I wouldn't mind so much if they did celebrity announcements. Julian Clary would be quite funny...

"Passengers on platform two are advised that a passing Freightliner on its way to Southampton docks may attempt to suck you off!....... "

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't give ATOS

"They still do this. It drives me mad. As if the station robot announcer cares..."

But someone still has to press the button to make the announcement. If you walked up to someone and played a recording saying "****ing **** go **** yourself you **** ****" then I think it would be clear that what's being expressed comes from you and not the "robot" doing the talking.

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Re: I don't give ATOS

There's nothing to say that the message wasn't triggered automatically. And even if it weren't, the person pressing the button doesn't care about you.

Your example, incidentally, is crap. The announcer is nameless and faceless and might not even be in the same station (even assuming they are human at all, which is unclear), rather than some arse with a tape recorder standing right in front of you. Hint: your example involves two humans, face to face, interacting.

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FAIL

Re: I don't give ATOS

Still could be worse, our station says that "security forces patrol the sation 24 hours a day".

Amazing as we only get a special constable 1 hour a day, and a police car tootles past every now and then.

Guess the price you pay for village life, no coppers but 24/7 security personell at an unmanned station..

Still better than that new ****ing Boris Johnson one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't give ATOS

"The announcer is nameless and faceless and might not even be in the same station (even assuming they are human at all, which is unclear), rather than some arse with a tape recorder standing right in front of you."

How about if someone posted the recording to you. You'd still think there was intent behind the message.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank you - that will be one more up vote

I was about to have a rant about how ATOS really are evil empire material but you've summed them up nicely.

AC because we're talking about evil empire material.

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Joke

Re: Thank you - that will be one more up vote

ATOS are French though arnt they? If so I wouldn't worry about their empire building abilities too much!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't give ATOS

The way things are going I can almost garantee that there will be somebody who turns up at there offices and cuts the throat after saying "happy now" as a way to avoid starvation and homlessness due to there attitude. Bullying mentals leads to the enevatable outcome.

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Re: I don't give ATOS

"We apologise for the inconvenience".. which I believe was God's last message to man according some book or other.

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Anonymous Coward

Does your company conduct staff satisafaction surveys?

Unions are increasingly being presented with the results of such surveys by companies during pay negotiations.

Company X to Union Y: "...with 65% of staff agree our pay is already competitive, and 75% being satisfied with the overall benefits received"

So next time you fill in the staff survey, instead of thinking how it will improve your job, think how it might be used against you!

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Union members have long been used to non-union companies discriminating against them.

Nothing new.

As for atos(ers).....having "health professionals" masquerading as doctors is pretty low....but about atos-average.

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Anonymous Coward

As for atos(ers).....having "health professionals" masquerading as doctors is pretty low....but about atos-average.

Agreed. When my boss said she wanted a health-report relating the the effects of my disability, I was pretty surprised to find that apparantly Atos can assess that by doing nothing more than a phone consultation. Huge waste of money if you ask me, whilst I was honest, I could equally well have said that my leg was persistently swollen to twice it's normal size and the 'health professional' would never have known.

Atos also used to run payroll at one of my ex-employers. Constant screw-ups.

Generally a pretty shite company, bit worrying to hear that any of the Olympic stuff is reliant on them getting things right. Hell, when I was supposed to go in for a 'face-to-face' consultation they wanted me to drive 50 miles to get to them. That'd be fine if it weren't for the fact 3 days later they phoned back and said "Hey we've just realised we've actually got a consultation centre in your town, 5 minutes drive from the office".

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Company Surveys

Where I work the %age of completed surveys was related to management bonuses and so managers would pounce on people around survey time to get them to complete it and the year after it became common knowledge less than 10% were completed. It's no longer linked but the rumours that it are won't go away and people still won't do them on principle.

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Having worked for a union (for free) in a company that did do staff satisfaction surveys my experience is they were a worthless distraction and management spent more time trying to figure out who said what in the verbatim comments. The standard reply to a large number of dissatisfied staff was "well why are they still here". Any dissent over wages was met with "we benchmark well against other companies". Any comments relating to specific managers were "personal grudges and should be ignored".

It was frankly one of the most soul destroying experiences of my life, having encoraged every last person to fill them in. Worked on the results, held sessions with staff (it was hell trying to have no management sitting in on those sessions, and the first question asked was always "who said that") and come up with a series of suggestions that wouldn't cost much but would help address valid issues, to sit down with a bunch of desk warmers and have it all shot down as just spiteful malicous rumblings from the great unwashed.

I have also seen at first hand how they manipulate the figures, either upgrading "no comment / indifferent" to a positive or excluding them. Anything to bugger with the figures.

So by all means put down you are dissatisfied with your wages but you will only be told your compensation package benchmarks well against competitors, although they will include amounts for the pathetic staff gym, amounts for free parking in a crime ridden industrial estate ad nauseum anything to make your compensation look higher. Plus isn't benchmarking wages effectively price fixing?

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Flame

Pilgrim?

So you volunteered for no pay? Unlikely, no one would do what you said you did for free. Or did you get paid but the union got you for free? In which case you sound like a "pilgrim" who sponges off the company but works for the union. If the union wants to do something, it should pay for it itself.

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Re: Pilgrim?

That's a little harsh isn't it? Yes I got no renumeration from the union. I worked in a comissioned environment so I could spare time because the job itself wasn't that difficult to do well, I could hit my max target and spare the time. I did benefit to some degree, from additional training and from helping to develop policy (which I would benefit from). I also went through some consultation periods that didn't result in job losses. I guess I was an idiot for wanting to help people and the company?

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@ The Axe

So when you say "Unlikely, no one would do what you said you did for free." you mean "Unlikely, I wouldn't do what you said you did for free."

There are some people in the world who aren't totally selfish.

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Re: Pilgrim?

I had to doubl check I had the right definition of pilgrim :-) No I am not a pilgrim, I worked in the private sector and still performed my job at the company, plus the company benefitted as well as the union. The days of striking down the pit are over. A good union wants the company to make money so it can ask for better pay. We spent as much time working on improving the company as we did staff issues.

I did benefit in many ways, it was a welcome distraction to day to day work, I got to help coworkers and the company etc. I just feel that dues paid to the union are better spent assisting those who are made redundant or in need of legal assistance in tribunals etc, not padding my salary. Sure the 'windows and orphans' fund isn't as heavily drawn on these days, but those dues help people find new work, keep a roof over their heads and fight dodgy managers. That all seems more important to me than me being able to have some more money each month when I already have a normal wage coming in. I guess it's a self respect thing.

Having worked as a manager in previous roles I had a tainted idea of what a union was actually like, it is not some carry on style all strike the minute somebody is asked to do someone elses job type environment, nor is everyone just their to pull two salaries in. Sure there are people like that in life, but not everyone is like that. It was interesting, at times fun and sure it felt good to help people but money isn't everything in life.

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Awww poor ATossers

As someone else already pointed out these are part of a multi-million pound contract (£300m?) company that are paid to do tick box 'medical assessments' which affect hundreds of thousands of people by robbing them of benefits. Far worse is that as a result of these McMedicals people are pushed and forced into the increasingly ludicrous jobcentre schemes, workface for example, and these 'people' are bitching about not getting a good enough pay rise? They get less than zero sympathy from me whatsoever and the idea of them sponsoring the paralympics is disgusting. I don't know why LinkOfHyrule got a downvote, perhaps it was someone that works for ATossers or believes all the lies the media like to spread.

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Meh

Re: Awww poor ATossers

You seem to be having trouble distinguishing the folk who have to get a job to pay their mortage and feed their family from the executives who get to set policy.

Hint: one of those two sets of people got to draw up the medical assessment policy. The other set is unhappy at being paid peanuts.

If it were easy for them to change jobs, they wouldn't be considering a strike, would they?

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Are there ANY olympics sponsors who aren't complete arseholes?

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Coat

As ever the Olympics is all about a bunch of rings

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I keep hearing the phrase "the Olympic family" on the news and in the media - It makes me sick in my mouth every time. It's so creepy!

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Alert

I went out to shoot some shots of the torch passing through the local town, we waited for 90 minutes, the first through were 3 huge trucks by Coke, Samsung and some other mega-corp. They took about 5-10 minutes to crawl up the 400 yards of the high-street. Next up were, two Police bikes, a police car, the bearer and a support coach, they were rushed through at lightning speed I barely got time to rattle off 3 shots before they were all gone!

I think I know whose benefit the torch parade is for!

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"I think I know whose benefit the torch parade is for!" And the whole shebang is for the benefit of the sponsors and the Olympic Committee.

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Anonymous Coward

You do know who started the Olympic Torch Relay in modern times ?

Olympic Torch Relay ?? Oh yes, that celebration of Aryan Youth instigated at the 1936 Olympics. Good to know one of Herr H's ideas is being kept alive.

Quite appropriate really that it should be taken over by MegaCorps.

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Atos IT workers are threatening to strike

They should have threatened to strike when the government used ATOS to force the most vulnerable in our society to look for work when (by any reasonable persons definition of sick) they were unable to do so.

I for one don't care if the poor ATOS workers are suffering. They have contributed to much more harm and anxiety for the sick and disabled people who's health they were supposed to be caring for.

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Re: Atos IT workers are threatening to strike

Sorry I've obviously completely missed this one - what's the score here? Are ATOS contracted to complete assessments of claimants of incapacity benefit or something?

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Re: Atos IT workers are threatening to strike

They are contracted to run the medicals for the WCA (ESA assessment) and for DLA.

They are widely despised by the disabled community, and have a track re ord that would see other government contractors investigated. Their declaring people fitter than they are is costing at least £60m per year in appeals alone. The human cost is even greater.

A less-fitting sponsor for the Paralympics I could not imagine.

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Re: Atos IT workers are threatening to strike

It's worse than that. They used a scoring system based on an American system used by insurers to deny medical insurance to people. The healthcare assessments they use are designed to exclude people from being able to get the help they need.

http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html

See the summer report of 2010, Section 8

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Devil

Not surprised they're threatening to strike

After all the tube drivers managed to get a bump as a result. As did the bus drivers.

I'm intrigued to know how a tube driver is working any harder as a result of the olympics.

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Re: Not surprised they're threatening to strike

A bus with 10 passengers on is far less hassle to drive than one that is packed to the rafters. People complain to the drivers about the most stupid of things and he/she has to sit there and be polite and listen while they fumble with their change and moan about the lateness of the bus while making it even later, crowded buses mean fights and rows and the driver is expected to sort these out, people staying on way after the stop they have paid for etc etc etc. They really don't just sit there and drive the buses you know. So yeah, the bosses will be getting huge bonuses so why not give the drivers a few hundred quid extra?

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Re: Not surprised they're threatening to strike

@Andy I drew attention more to the tube drivers who I cannot understand how they can justify being paid more during the olympics. I believe these guys are on nearly £50k/year these days for what is a semi-skilled job.

That's more than the majority of IT people I know. Do you know any devs who get paid a bonus for working their normal hours during a busy period?

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Re: Not surprised they're threatening to strike

Not that I approve or dissapprove of their raise, but I believe the justification was a combination of a longer working day (lines will run later) and holiday blackouts (to help minimise overtime pay).

I could be remembering it incorrectly and to be fair, news coverage in the states is a little shaky on anything foreign (and downright shocking on domestic stuff if you watch fox).

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