Will the Co-operative Group move out of the Co-operative Movement and into the mainstream supermarket sector?
- The AGM took place in Manchester on Saturday 16th May and voted for the Co-operative Group to remain in Membership of the Co-operative Party.
- This is excellent news for the wider Co-operative Movement.
The Co-operative Group has been going off course for some years.
Under Peter Marks leadership as CEO the Group prioritised 'becoming big' rather than being co-operative. This led to unwise business deals which resulted in the Co-operative losing half of its assets and getting into major debt.
It was deemed appropriate to sweep away the co-operative democracy and write a new rule book. This means that the Co- operative Board is now occupied by appointees from outside of the Co-operative Movement. The members of the Co-op have effectively been reduced to the role of members of a Building Society. The executive want to sweep away the Co-operative Ethos and feel that they have complete power to do that. They feel safe in the assumption that 2.8 million members will not be aware of the situation and will carry forward the wishes of the executive.
As they seem to have no wish for the business to be considered as part of the Co-operative Sector, they have no interest in Co- operative political representation and want the Co-op Group to stop funding the Co-operative Party.
For anyone who values the Co-operative Sector, it is important to remember that the thing which made the Co-operative Group different to the other supermarket chains, is that they used the profits (or surplus) to fund and support the Co-operative Movement.
Despite going through a period of loss making, large sums of money have been spent on changing the democratic structure and paying for a top heavy and expensive executive and a second head office in London and exorbitant 'gardening leave' deals for executives.
The new executive and appointed board members are clearly not interested in remaining a co-operative and have made it clear that they want to be like all the rest.
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