Monday, January 08, 2007

Shabby Co-op

Old 'Ric Hobsbawm wrote in one of his tomes, some place, that one of the earliest form of workers' self-organisation was the funeral co-op. They were an expression of the fundamental concern for dignity and self-esteem of the working class.

Recently I read in Tribune that Co-operative Funeralcare had unilaterally derecognised the GMB. I was shocked, and appalled and stunned and disgusted, etc.

Digging around for confirmation, I found this GMB Press release:
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said, "This unilateral action by the Co-operative Group, which they press released to the media, is disgraceful, outrageous and unworthy of the co-operative movement. It is indicative of a senior management lacking the principles upon which the co-operative movement was founded.

GMB will continue to represent its members in the Co-operative FuneralCare. GMB will now consider the Co-operative Group to be an anti-union employer and we will act accordingly, industrially, politically and economically."

According to the Morning Star (Subs only, I found this via LexisNexis):
A Funeralcare spokesman claimed that the GMB had the smallest membership of its three unions and, unlike both the T&G and USDAW, it had no significant representation in other Co-operative businesses.

"We value our trade union relationships, we actively encourage our staff to join unions and trade union membership within the business is at an all-time high," he claimed.

"If we are to maintain our position, then it is vital we maintain constructive partnerships with unions which have a broad grasp of the group's business interests."
What a shabby excuse for cutting away a troublesome union, it reminds me of the Pnensyvania Quaker who derecognised unions because they interfered with the personal relationship between employer and employee (kinda casting himself in the role of God there). Co-ops are about co-operations and partnership, but that doesn't mean union busting, not by a long chalk.

Good luck to the GMB.

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Anonymous a very public sociologist said...

This could do with taking up by Cooperatie Party branches up and down the country. I hope the GMB are going down this avenue along with everything else they're doing.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I'll try and bring it up at my (first) branch meeting this week. According to Tribune the GMB might try and get the Co-op party expelled from Labour!...

3:17 PM  

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