What started as a peaceful protest in Barkers Pool today culminated in a group ‘occupying’ the DWP building on Sheffield’s West Street.
Around forty people marched the short distance from the City Hall to the DWP building and a small group of those then gained entry and chained themselves to the stairs.
Demonstrators were carrying banners and placards aimed at the DWP with slogans saying “Stop terrorising sick and disabled people,” and calling for “respect, dignity and equality.”
A group of protesters have got into the DWP building on West Street & have chained themselves to the stairs pic.twitter.com/jXCZ1UPWoU— Katherine Cowan (@KatherineCowan) April 1, 2014
Small crowds gathered outside the building to view the protesters, who were visible through a window.
Police were called and attended the incident at around 1:00pm this afternoon.
The protesters say they have no confidence that ‘fit for work’ assessments through the Department for Work and Pensions will be any fairer following the announcement that ATOS are withdrawing from their contract to provide the assessments.
The arrangement with ATOS was due to end next August, but will now cease a year early following controversy over the company’s dealing of the work capability assessments.
A new provider is being sought to provide the service to the government.
Critics say that hundreds of thousands of potentially vulnerable people have been incorrectly judged as being fit for work by the assessments, with over 600,000 appeals being lodged against such decisions since they began.
Figures show that around 4 out of 10 of the appeals have resulted in decisions being overturned.