In the face of protests both on and offline, The Co-operative Group have ditched poverty pimps ATOS as their occupational health provider.
The Co-op posted the following on their facebook page this afternoon:
“Hello everyone, here is an update as promised on our occupational healthcare provider, many thanks for your patience on this matter.
The Co-operative Group can confirm that a robust procurement process considering, amongst other factors, cost, operational efficiency and geographical capability is currently underway for our occupational health services provider. Having been scored against an agreed set of parameters and against other bidders, Atos Healthcare have not progressed to the later rounds of that process and our intention is to have a new provider in place when the current contract terminates.”
Also on the same day in the Market Square, Nottingham, a ‘Say No To Cuts’ stall was run by some of those involved with local homeless shelters and women’s refuges that are facing huge cuts or closure, also highlighting cuts to Refugee Action and housing support for vulnerable young people and adults. Leaflets and petitions were used to encourage more people to get involved. A set of letters written by local homeless teenagers was on display, explaining the vital importance to them of the housing and shelter facilities in Notts that are threatened by funding cuts. Campaign organisers described the cuts as ‘disgusting’ and vowed to prevent a return to large numbers of people sleeping in city centre doorways.
On Sunday 7th February 2011 at 1pm a UKUncut protest is due to take place at the Vodafone store on Clumber Street. Vodafone was let off billions off its tax bill by HM Revenue and Customs, money which could have been used to avoid public sector cuts. This is also the next local demonstration since one week ago it became clear that police had used CS spray and hospitalised UKUncut activists at the Oxford Road, London branch of Boots (who are another subject of this ongoing campaign against corporate tax avoidance).
Today’s UKUncut protest in Nottingham makes a further link with the situation in Egypt where revolutionaries are being subjected to CS gas and worse. According to the Financial Times, both France Telecom and Vodafone transmitted pro-government text messages and “Some texts on Vodafone’s network appeared to urge Mr Mubarak’s supporters to confront the anti-government protesters.” According to Mark Steel, writing on Egypt in the Independent newspaper last week, “The Big Society taking place in Egypt means for a moment that the place has become the most democratic country on the planet.” UK UNCUT will therefore be highlighting demands that Vodafone pay their taxes and that they do not support dictators.
In Nottingham on Sunday 30th January a further UKUncut demonstration was held against profiteering and the hypocrisy of governments that allow companies like Boots and Vodaphone to operate abroad and avoid tax when services are being cut – because the deficit must be reduced at all costs so we are being told time and time again.
Well if the cost is forests in England being sold off, libraries being closed, the NHS being maneouvered further towards privatisation, cuts to benefits and disability allowances going ahead at breakneck speed and an increase in homelessness due to the axing of vital services, then we don’t like it one bit. We are right to be angry. Watch video of Nottingham demo.
UKUncut said: Before 15:00 outside Boots on Oxford Street a female activist tried to push a leaflet through the closed door of Boots explaining the details of Boots’ tax avoidance to the staff. A police officer then arrested the individual for “criminal damage”. Around 20 people tried to help the female being arrested and 10 were subsequently pepper sprayed. Three people have been taken to hospital.
Notts Save Our Services will be calling on corporations to pay their tax on Saturday 4 December. We meet at 1pm outside Vodafone on Clumber Street and will visit a few other tax avoiders after that. http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/actions/4
This is our second demo in Nottingham about corporate tax. For info and videos of the first and other tax related articles, see: http://nottssos.org.uk/tag/tax
Avoiding tax is big business. British corporations avoid up to £25 billion a year in tax, with major offenders including Vodafone (owes £6 billion); Boots (paid £0 in tax last year); and Top Shop, where boss Philip Green has signed ownership of his company over to his wife in the tax haven of Monte Carlo. He now pays no tax in Britain .
Tax-avoiding corporations cost the government billions each year, money that could be used to invest in services and protect jobs. Instead, HMRC are writing off tax bills for the richest in our society, whilst sending bills to pensioners, workers and others who they claim owe thousands due to their miscalculations.
Notts Save Our Services will be joining a national day of action against tax-avoiding corporations, starting from Vodafone in Clumber Street and visiting other tax-avoiders along the way.
Tell the corporations: it’s time to pay tax!
Join us on Saturday 4 December at 1pm outside
Vodafone. Bring your banners, placards, whistles. Tweet the demo: #ukuncut
On Clumber Street in Nottingham city centre today a demonstration was held outside the Vodafone shop about their non-payment of tax in Britain and in other countries. Why are services and jobs being cut when this could be covered by getting corporations and the rich to pay up? Noone was available to answer this question as the shop had been closed before the demonstration got there, and a small police cordon was there too (to protect business, as usual?). The Nott SOS demonstration clearly stated it was not directed at Vodafone shopworkers or shoppers but at the directors, owners. This message was not lost on passers-by. As well from those on holding placards in front of the shop, down the whole of Clumber Street the cry of “Vodafone pay your taxes” could clearly be heard.