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.