The shelves in the Co-op stores around the East of England would have been empty for the local communities that rely on them and there could not have been the surge in sales resulting in the bumper profit without logistics staff, says GMB.
GMB London and East of England, the union for logistics staff, is calling on the Co-op to extend to its outsourced logistics staff the cash bonus of £100 awarded to all its staff for coping with the massive surge in sales at the beginning of the public health emergency that led to bumper profits for the Co-op.
GMB members employed by Wincanton at a Co-op distribution depot near Huntingdon provided the logistics support to keep the shelves stocked and provide an essential service to local communities served by the Co-op stores across the East of England.
Wincanton operate a distribution depot at Godmanchester. This employs approximately 180 staff in the warehouse and as drivers. There are some agency workers but most are employed by Wincanton.
When the surge had passed and the empty shelves were restocked, the Co-op, like the other supermarkets in recognition of the bumper profits they made, awarded a bonus of £100 in their May pay packets and £50 in member benefits to all staff directly employed by Co-op staff to give them a share of profits.
GMB members in the Co-op logistics chain asked via Wincanton if the Co-op was prepared to pay the bonus via Wincanton to these staff. They were told that the Co-op was refusing to recognise financially that without them they would not have been able to keep the shelves stocked. GMB members are shocked by this decision.
Steve Garelick, GMB Regional Organiser, said "GMB members at the Co-op distribution depot in Godmanchester, Huntingdon are asking for the Co-op to reconsider their decision not to pay the bonus awarded to the direct retail staff to the very logistics staff vital to cope with the surge in demand at the start of the public health emergency.
"Without these workers putting their lives on hold in the emergency the shelves in the Co-op stores around the East of England would have been empty for the local communities that rely on these stores. Without them there could not have been the surge in sales resulting in the bumper profit.
"Not to pay the well-deserved bonus to the retail staff to the logistics staff vital to it happening is the wrong decision by the Co-op.
The Co-op should immediately recognise these workers and their part in the teamwork that the Co-op movement can be proud of as it celebrated its 175th anniversary. It’s simply a matter of fairness.
"The Co-op should pay the bonus to its logistics staff via Wincanton who are in no position to pay it. Wincanton has a huge number of staff currently on furlough during the emergency while these logistics staff are at work serving the nation."