Unite national officer, Rob MacGregor, speaks out on ...

Unite national officer, Rob MacGregor, speaks out on changes affecting the Co-operative

07 March 2014

Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, sends out the message "every account switch costs jobs"

It is widely known that the Co-operative bank has recently faced some of its largest challenges since its creation. However, it still remains a vital institution not just as a Unite organised workplace, with over 1,000 members nationwide, but also for its ethical ethos and values.

The Co-op Group will be consulting Co-op members about the future of the businesses and Rob MacGregor has asked members keep these key messages in mind going forward:

         Every account switch costs jobs – Unite members are encouraged to keep any Co-op bank accounts they currently have and think about opening an account if they don’t already have one

         Only by standing together with the bank can we hope to influence its future

         The bank is part of the wider Labour movement which makes it imperative that the party, the Co-op and the trade union movement do what they can to support it

         Want to keep the Co-op ethos and values, it’s very important that we continue to refuse certain types of business on ethical grounds (arms dealers, fracking, animal testing, etc).

         Want to retain the Co-op difference – ethical banking is not about chasing profit.

         Staff are fielding questions from customers that they can’t possibly answer as yet, and are taking a lot of flak.

Unite’s reps are seeking high level assurances from the bank including:

         That the ethics and values will be protected irrespective of whoever owns shares, and how many they own

         That the hedge funds can’t spread their influence into the rest of the Co-op businesses

         That ethics and values won’t be sacrificed on the altar of profit

         The pension fund won’t be affected

         Terms and conditions won’t be altered because of the new structure of the bank

         Bank keeps it long standing and constructive relationships with its trade unions.

We ask that members bear these messages in mind at this challenging time.