Heroes of the year – Brompton Bikes workers
More from our heroes of the year series - this time we thank our Brompton Bikes members
As UniteLive has highlighted over the last few weeks, heroes abound amid the coronavirus crisis. While some are obvious, like doctors and nurses, others are more hidden, working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the UK going.
Workers for Brompton Bicycle, many of whom are Unite members, have joined in the national effort in their own special way. They’re now hard at work manufacturing the iconic foldable bikes as part of a unique crowdfunding project that aims to provide an alternative mode of transport for NHS staff.
Unite member Pawel (pictured above), who works on the production line, said he felt a “huge sense of pride and responsibility” as he goes to work producing bikes for the NHS.
“We are all doing something to help combat the coronavirus whether it’s by staying at home or helping each other out in different ways,” he said. “With the work we’re doing now, I feel part of the nation, every day working towards a common aim.”
Pawel’s colleague Brian (pictured below), also a Unite member and production line worker, agreed.
“It’s given me a huge incentive to wake up every morning and come into work,” he added.
The Brompton Bicycle workers sent messages of gratitude and support to NHS staff on the frontline.
“Heroes have a new name – the names of every single one of you under one symbol – the NHS,” Pawel said.
Brian added, “Keep going – we are all behind you.”
Brompton Bike’s CEO Will also praised the NHS and other key workers – many of whom he said, like for example, electricians fixing fire alarms at hospitals or workers in logistics – don’t get the recognition they deserve.
“The people who are trying to fight this really challenging virus – by God it’s amazing,” he said. “We need to support them as best we can.”
Will also hailed his workforce, who he said have always been committed to the work they do, but who are even more so now.
“What has been really special is the number of staff who have donated to the crowdfunding page,” he said. “I didn’t expect that at all and it’s really touching.”
“We’ve always had a sense of pride in what we’re doing but to be able to articulate that and genuinely deliver something for those who are putting themselves at the greatest risk – it makes us all feel like we’re trying our best,” he added.
Above all, Will said that British industry has an obligation to help the nation however it can at a time of dire need.
“In our case, we’ve been designated as an industry that is allowed to stay open to support the fight against the coronavirus,” he explained. “In many ways this is an enormous privilege. As a business you need to take that seriously. Even as we struggle to keep our business viable, if we can help and if there’s some way that we can contribute then we ought to do that.
“With Wheels for Heroes, we didn’t plan for this opportunity; it just came about — and what we’ve done is run with it.”
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail hailed the Wheels for Heroes campaign.
“When the NHS reached out for help Brompton Bikes picked up the challenge and is running with it,” she said. “This practical support to NHS workers saving lives is possible not least because Brompton Bikes and Unite members are determined to up production to meet the needs of the hour. Perfect symmetry.”
Find out more about Wheels for Heroes, and how you can contribute, on the crowdfunding page here.