Since the outbreak of Covid-19 there’s been an outpouring of generosity shown towards the NHS and its staff from members of the public, businesses and retailers.
Hospitals have been flooded with donations for staff and shops and supermarkets have offered concessions to NHS staff and other key workers.
However, UNISON’s Norfolk Community Health branch discovered that some outlets were only offering concessions to those directly employed in the public sector.
“It means outsourced workers, who are often already on worse pay than their NHS colleagues, are missing out,” explains branch secretary Rad Kerrigan.
What’s more, the branch discovered that, despite the best efforts of the team distributing the donations across the trust, not everything was getting through to the cleaners and domestics employed by G4S.
“We had to do something,” says Rad.
“The branch quickly made representations to the trust to find a way to get our colleagues recognised by key workers by the supermarkets but we also decided to make a gesture of thanks and solidarity to our members and colleagues in G4S.
“We approached G4S management for a view on what might go down well with the staff and received a one word reply – ‘Chocolate!’
“So we bought chocolate. Lots of it! Enough for all 179 members of staff to get a box.”
G4S managers agreed to distribute the gifts to staff.
“It’s fair to say it’s put a smile on a lot of faces,” says Rad. “Especially those staff who’ve had to shield and maybe haven’t been able to access those little luxuries we all enjoy from time to time.”