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Protesters make a stand outside Crawley coffee shop after wage dispute

Megaphone and banners were used as people demanded a resolution.

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Photo courtesy of Dan Dobson

Shoppers in Crawley town centre today may have come across members of the community who were participating in a peaceful protest demanding a young mans wages to be paid.

The protesters claimed that Affogato coffee shop owed an ex-employee unpaid wages after ending his contract with them.

Photo courtesy of Kiran Khan

Photos from outside the café show numerous people holding placards and waving small flags.

Photo courtesy of Stuart G. @SGunatillake

Whilst the protesters were not preventing customers from entering the premises the impact of the number of people there and the use of a megaphone may have had a detrimental effect on business.

At one point police were seen at the protest.

Trade Unionist Dan Dobson who helped organise the protest said:

“It has now been a full month since Harry Sheppard was ‘let go’ by Affogato and he has still not received his outstanding wages for several weeks’ work. Despite numerous broken promises, Harry’s wages are still being withheld. The owner did write a cheque after repeated conversations, but yesterday it emerged that he decided to cancel the cheque before it could be successfully cashed. That discovery led to today’s protest being called at short notice to apply pressure to the owners.”

“The owners have acknowledged that they owe Harry the wages, but they have continuously delayed paying the outstanding amount. An agreement was signed by both parties today for payment to be made within the next five days.”

Harry Sheppard commented saying,

“Today we protested outside Affogato coffee shop in Crawley because they owe me over a months wages. After being shown the door because they were overstaffed, the management have avoided and delayed paying me repeatedly. Last week they seemingly gave in and handed me a cheque only to then call the bank and cancel it. This is not on and as it turns out all the other staff members have not been paid either. The management left me with no choice but to take action and, with the support of local friends and my union, UNITE Community, we effectively shut the shop down. I am still waiting to be paid but I have made an agreement with the management and a date has been set which hopefully they live up to.”

The protest started at 1100 today and was called off at 1600 after a meeting finally took place between the owner, Harry Sheppard and Harry’s friend Dan Dobson which was also facilitated by Crawley Police.

Both Harry and Dan said they wanted to extend a special thank you to PC Barton, who they say did a ‘fantastic job’ facilitating a difficult meeting to ensure a resolution was reached.

The protesters say that providing the owners keep to the agreement, the protest could now be over but that if the agreement is broken then there will be a significantly larger demonstration next weekend.

Affogato Café has been contacted for comment.

Health & Wellbeing

Crawley woman among winning nurses at hospital awards

When the Queen Victoria Hospital asked its patients (past and present) to nominate staff they felt went the extra mile for them during their treatment or appointments, they were overwhelmed with the response.

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Pictured: Breast reconstruction nurse specialists Rebecca and Pam pictured receiving their award from Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality at Queen Victoria Hospital

The ask was for the hospital’s annual patient experience award, which this year generated over 50 nominations. Among the winners were Pam Golton from East Grinstead and Rebecca Spencer from Crawley – breast reconstruction nurse specialists at the hospital.

The duo received an amazing eight nominations from patients who commended Pam and Rebecca’s support during their reconstruction journey following breast cancer Queen Victoria Hospital is a leading centre for reconstructive breast surgery in the South East, performed either at the same time as a mastectomy or after all treatment has been completed. Pam and Rebecca are on hand to help patients throughout their journey and for however long their treatment takes.

Comments from the nominations included:

“All through my journey they have been amazing, going beyond the care and support I have ever experienced in any other NHS trust. They made me realise that I was normal and treated me as a friend.”

And

“they are kind, caring, good listeners, totally dedicated, professional and give you good honest advice and reassurance if you are worried about anything. Above all they just want to ensure you’re ok. I can honestly say I am so lucky to have been referred to QVH and been given Pam and Rebecca as my breast reconstruction nurse specialists. I really don’t know how I would have coped without them.”

Their win was announced on the night of the annual QVH Staff Awards by a special film one of their patients, Linda, helped create, explaining in her own words why she was driven to nominate the duo. You can watch it now on YouTube:

Commenting on their award Pam said:

“I was really thrilled to find out I had been nominated for an award and it was even more special to find out we had won. Rebecca and I are very much a team and it is lovely to be recognised for what in essence is “just doing our job”, but what a job! Helping ladies navigate what could potentially be the most emotional time of their lives is a privilege and one that we both take very seriously. Having recognition in this way encourages us to continue to strive to improve our practice and continue to make a difference to those we care for”.

Rebecca continued:

“I was so delighted we won the outstanding patient experience award, what a wonderful surprise. It is lovely to hear how we have made a difference to the lives of patients, and humbling to see how much we are appreciated. Patients are the focus of everything we do and it is so lovely to be recognised. To hear that I have helped women through a really difficult time in their lives is really rewarding and it makes me feel very proud.”

Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality at Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) explains why the awards are so important:

“We hope that every member of staff makes the experience of our patients a positive one. But we know some of our staff are extra special. Pam and Rebecca are both very deserving winners and we’d like to congratulate them both and all of our staff who were nominated – it’s a real testament to the positive impact our staff make when patients take the time to contact us.”

Queen Victoria Hospital would like to thank everyone who took time to nominate members of staff for the award and would encourage patients to continue passing on their feedback through its Patient Advice and Liaison service (PALS) by email at qvhpals@nhs.net, or its Facebook and Twitter channels.

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