Unite members working for the Co-operative Group have written to the group’s regional board members urging them to back reform, warning that they see no viable ‘plan B’ and that the recent ‘public politicking’ is putting their livelihoods and the Co-op’s future at risk.
The letter, sent on behalf of the union’s 1,200 members who predominately work in Co-op Retail Logistics, says that the future of thousands of employees and their families is on a knife edge.
Coming ahead of this Thursday’s Co-op Group results, the letter from Unite national officer, Adrian Jones warns:
“The vast majority of our members appreciate the unique ethos of the Co-op and its’ values and ethics are held in great regard. However the recent public politicking has caused great anguish for our members who fear that the board level power struggle is putting their livelihoods at risk.
“The future of the Co-op is not just about the make up of the board and the influence or perceived influence of regional boards and independent societies. It is also about the families of thousands of Co-op workers whose futures are on a knife edge.”
The letter then goes on to say that members have been left with no alternative but to intervene and state their position. Calling for a strengthening of the ‘one member one vote’ principle the letter urges support for Lord Myners reforms, saying:
“Unite as the largest union in Britain has many thousands of members in the retail and logistic arms of the Co-op’s competitors. On a daily basis we see the speed the sector is moving and with such pace, that unless the review is completed, there will be no chance of the Co-op being able to compete in such a cut-throat sector.”
“Unite believes that the basic proposals put forward by Lord Myners secure a structure that meets the organisation’s needs and has the potential to meet the challenges faced in the current economic climate. We further believe that strengthening the ‘one member one vote’ principle returns the Co-op to its natural roots.”
Pointing to a need to bring in new skills and experience to take the group forward, the letter concludes:
“We write this letter out of necessity because our members see no alternative. They see no viable ‘plan B’ coming forward that changes the governance structure that ensure we have a board in place with the knowledge, experience and skills to secure the future, not only of our members but of the Co-op as a whole.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Read the full text of the letter to Coop board members.
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Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.