Pizza Parties and Menopause Gift Bags Instead of Financial Reward for Workers

Avanti West Coast’s introduction of menopause support gift bags has ignited controversy, with unions and experts criticising the gesture as demeaning and calling for more comprehensive workplace support for menopausal women. Here’s the whole story.

Employee Appreciation

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In recent years, many companies have tried to reach out to their employees with thinly veiled PR stunts or poorly aimed reward packages. 

Pizza Party

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This has led to a series of memes online, such as the “Pizza Party” joke, an ongoing takedown of companies’ attempts to share the wealth with their employees with pizza parties instead of bonuses. 

See How Much We Value You?

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Similarly, Apple recently found itself in hot water when workers who helped launch their new Apple Vision Pro only received a framed picture of the headset. 

A Picture Worth A Thousand Dollars

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This led to many jokes online at Apple’s expense, with many mocking that one of the wealthiest companies on the planet couldn’t better compensate their employees.

Avanti West Coast

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The most recent company to fall into a similar trap, Avanti West Coast, a major rail company, in an apparent effort to support menopausal employees, recently introduced a gift bag containing items that would help alleviate menopausal symptoms. 

Controversy and Criticism

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However, the company’s unfortunate attempt to show solidarity with their menopausal employees backfired, sparking both controversy and criticism from rail unions and health experts. 

Pick ‘n’ Mix

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The bag included items such as a fan for hot sweats, a jelly baby to help ease mood swings and some tissues for any emotional moments. 

Keep It Together

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The company also included a paper clip with a joking note that stated it was for employees “to help you keep it all together.”

Demeaning and Dismissive

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While Avanti stated that the bags were designed by an in-house menopause support group composed of women experiencing menopause themselves, unions such as Aslef and TSSA condemned the gesture as demeaning and dismissive. 

“Insulting Gimmicks”

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Aslef characterized the gift bags as “insulting gimmicks,” arguing that menopausal symptoms are debilitating and should not be trivialized. 

Support and Respect

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TSSA echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need for informed support and respect for their employees rather than belittlement. 

Defending the Move

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Avanti attempted to defend its initiative, citing a broad range of menopause support initiatives undertaken over the past year, including guidance for managers and workers, as well as internal support groups. 

Making News

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Despite the company’s efforts to support menopausal employees, the controversy that flared up due to the gift bags has brought serious concerns about the inadequacy of workplaces to support menopausal women into the headlines. 

Serious Doubts

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Many medical specialists raised doubts about gift bags as a workable solution to the pervasive problems menopause causes sufferers.

Workplace Support

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Medical experts emphasized the importance of following medical advice and treatment, along with the necessity of workplace support.

Avanti Responds

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In response to the avalanche of criticism Avanti received, they stressed, “This is a gift bag designed and created by our own in-house menopause support group and derived from a suggestion from a colleague based on her own personal experience.”

“Menopause Friendly Employer”

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They continued, “It is part of a much wider and well-used package of support provided by Avanti West Coast, as part of our commitment to be a proud menopause friendly employer.”

Questionable Decisions

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Despite these reassurances from the company, recent controversies, such as a recently leaked presentation when managers joked about receiving “free money” from the government, have only added to the perception of a company making questionable decisions. 

Response to Criticisms 

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Avanti has stressed that as a company, they have responded to some of the criticisms aimed at them, such as introducing 100% cotton shirts to employees who are undergoing symptoms of menopause. 

Profitability vs People

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Despite these reassurances, the controversy around the company’s gift bags serves as another example of the broader issues within Avanti, and other companies, attempts to bridge the gap between profitability and the perceived care they take towards their employees. 

Fuel to the Fire

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While Avanti can perhaps be forgiven for attempting an outreach program, despite how poorly it has been reviewed, this latest incident only adds to many complaints about how large corporations treat their workers. 

Bare Minimum

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The sanctioning of such a poorly envisioned outreach program only adds to the widespread belief that large companies are only willing to do the bare minimum to support their workers. 

Support for Women

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This current controversy serves as a reminder of the importance of meaningful and comprehensive support for menopausal women in the workplace. 

Empty Gestures

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While higher-ups sanction empty gestures, actual workers often find such measures degrading or insulting, which only proves that better interfacing between management and the people who work for them is crucial to ensure happier, healthier workplaces in the future. 

The post Pizza Parties and Menopause Gift Bags Instead of Financial Reward for Workers first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

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