Coronavirus: Wilko staff call for 'gratitude' after Easter egg offer

By David Pittam
BBC News

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image captionSome staff are calling for Wilko to follow some supermarkets and offer them better pay for working during the crisis

Wilko workers have called for the firm to show its staff more "gratitude" in line with supermarket benefits after being offered discounted Easter eggs.

The Worksop-based chain angered some by offering the cut-price chocolate while not promising a reward for working through the coronavirus crisis.

Staff told the BBC the offer was a "kick in the teeth".

The company said the egg offer was part of a charitable scheme and they were considering other "thank yous".

But it said it could not commit to anything at this stage because they "do not have the same volume of trade as supermarkets" and may not be able to deliver on big promises.

'Lambs sent to slaughter'

Many supermarkets, such as Tesco and Aldi, have pledged a 10% pay rise or bonus.

One Wilko employee said: "[We also] have to leave our kids at home, get on buses to work to expose ourselves to hundreds of people out shopping.

"We just want some gratitude. The offer of an Easter egg for 50p was a kick in the teeth."

Another added: "I've heard some team members say they feel like lambs being sent to slaughter for minimum wage. I love my job but at times feel like Wilko's number one priority is their wallet.

"If we were told of a bonus or something else of the sort then we would feel more valued by the company."

image captionWilko said the Easter egg offer was intended as a way staff could get involved in its charity scheme

Wilko employs about 17,000 people in more than 400 shops.

Gary Carter, the GMB union's national officer, said these employees were putting themselves at risk by turning up to work.

"We've asked Wilko to follow other retailers and pay a bonus to staff and a pay rise above the national living wage," he said.

"Wilko needs to do the decent thing."

A spokesman for Wilko clarified the offer of an Easter egg for a 50p donation was meant to be a way staff could get involved in its charity scheme, adding it was "grateful" for their hard work and "cannot thank them enough".

"Once we're through the challenges we're facing today, we hope to be in a position to offer a meaningful and appropriate thank you," he said.

He said the company's current priority was safety and measures to protect staff included providing hand sanitiser and installing safety screens.

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