‘Yes I’m on the front lines, but I don’t see myself as a keyworker’

If you’ve been driving to work through the Essex countryside, reassured that even in these uncertain times, the roadsides still look prim and proper, you could have Richard Bond to thank.

He’s a idverde worker, driving a mower on the country routes in Colchester Borough, working with his team on the front line through Covid-19, as normal apart from social distancing measures.

But while the general public is more appreciative than normal, Richard still thinks most of the praise should be saved for workers in health and social care.

“Yes I’m on the front line,” he told UNISON Eastern. “However I don’t see myself as a key worker.

“Those are the real heroes saving lives and working for the NHS and care homes.

“There has been a change regarding the public they seem more appreciative and more complimentary of what we do — I guess us keeping the verges maintained gives a sense of normality to people.”

Richard is a UNISON rep and has worked hard with idverde to make sure people can go about their jobs safely.

“Working with the company we have managed to keep PPE available for all staff. As with everyone, there have been some minor issues but we coped.

“Social distancing is being observed and the main positive measure has been putting everyone in separate vans.”

He also paid tribute to the wealth of workplace information UNISON has collated on its website, giving advice to public service workers.

“idverde is keeping us well informed but I’ve also found UNISON’s Covid-19 information page very helpful and have shared it with members who have had questions. It’s helped us avoid any major issues.”

idverde paid tribute to Richard and his colleagues, saying: “We are proud of our staff who have delivered a service through these hard times and by working together as team we feel it has made us stronger.”