From The Daily Record, Scotland, 24 June 2013. Story by Keith Mcleod.
Fury as boss of Atos gets £280k pay rise while thousands of Scots are plunged into poverty by their benefits assessment tests
CAMPAIGNERS and former Atos employees spoke out at their “disgust” over the rise which takes chief exec Thierry Breton’s total package of pay, bonuses and perks is now £2,329,250.
The boss of Atos has been awarded a £280,000 pay rise after his firm helped to heap misery on thousands of disabled people who are deemed fit for work.
The huge pay hike for Thierry Breton is in stark contrast to the thousands of Scots plunged into poverty after Atos assessed them as able to work under stringent government rules.
Atos – which earns £1.6billion in Government contracts – has been hired by the Department of Work and Pensions to assess disabled claimants.
In one case highlighted by the Record, Alexander Mackie, 26, from Stirling, who is registered blind and walks with a white stick, was graded fit to work.
Breton – chief executive and chairman of the French company – saw his 2012 pay soar by £279,992.
His total package of pay, bonuses and perks is now £2,329,250. For the same period in 2011, Breton received £2,049,250.
Last night, Tom Greatrex, Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who has campaigned for reform of the Work Capability Assessment, said: “Many who have been through the indignity of the failing Atos test will be sickened to see that the chief executive was rewarded with a hike in his pay and bonus.
“It is high time the Tory Minister for Atos, Mark Hoban, got a grip and fundamentally reformed the assessment so it helps those who can work, not hounds those who can’t.”
Meanwhile, a former Atos nurse has told of her “disgust” at the rise.
Joyce Drummond from Glasgow said she was forced to “trick sick people out of their benefits”.
She added: “Atos went by the philosophy that if you had a finger and could push a button, then you could work. For this to happen when so many more people are now suffering greater hardship is hard to take.”