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NHS Stranger Danger: Beware dodgy people offering gifts

19 June, 2020

Author: Dean Rogers, Director of Industrial Strategy and Member Relations

Caution

The NHS has become Britain’s 'favourite child', which many SoR members may consider as long overdue.

This has never been more clear than during the Covid-19 crisis and many staff will be grateful for the support and encouragement offered by businesses and charities.

However, not all those offering gifts do so with good or pure intentions. For example, British Airways (BA) are giving Avios points for HSC/NHS staff, so they can take some time out and relax, using the points for flights, hotel accommodation, and theatre tickets.

The problem is that BA are at the same time in dispute with its staff, 12,000 of whom they have dismissed with the intention of re-engaging them on reduced terms and conditions.

They blame the huge impact of the pandemic on their industry. At the same time, BA has spent £1bn buying up a competitor (Air Europa) and in 2019 the company made an operating profit of £1.1 billion after tax, whilst still lobbying government to remove taxes targeting environmental recovery from the impact of the aviation industry.

For many years business schools have run courses for executives and leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility. BA may have found one in Corporate Social Hypocrisy.

The company was once a semi-official representative and symbol of the ‘Best of British’. Now its actions symbolise the value gap which has grown between leading businesses and the public’s sense of common decency.

We’re confident SoR members and other HSC/NHS staff on the Covid-19 frontline would rather see corporations doing what they can to support their employee's mental health and long term security. This is the cheapest of stunts.

As part of the TUC and the trade union movement the SoR will continue to support social partnership and working with responsible employers. This is more critical than ever.

We’re not anti-business, but we’re not stupid either; we’ll call out social corporate hypocrisy when we see it, and warn members about dody strangers offering presents.

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