Union called in to help worried Co-op staff

The  Hebden Bridge Co-op store
The Hebden Bridge Co-op store

A worried Co-operative employee has spoken out over fears they will lose their job in a new national restructure.

Usdaw, the union of shops, distributive and allied workers, are providing support and representation to members of staff at the Hebden Bridge Co-operative store who have been affected in a recent restructuring process, which means employees would have to dedicate more hours to the shop.

Employees at the shop on Market Street have been consulted about the changes in recent meetings and have received letters from the store manager.

The confidential letters, which were leaked to the Hebden Bridge Times, stated that the meetings would discuss whether the “availability you are offering is suffiecient to meet the stores needs.

“We will also discuss your reasons for not offering the required availability, the possible alternatives, and possible consequences which may include termination of your employment, and offering you re-engagement on the new terms.”

One worker at the Hebden Bridge store, who did not wish to be named, said that they cannot meet the demand of the added hours of work due to personal circumstances.

“They are trying to force us out if we cannot do what they are asking for which I can’t do.

“I feel like they are trying to get as much out us as they can and it’s stressful.”

The restructuring procedure is part of a new way of working for the company called S3 Store Standards.

The new store standards were introduced to improve ways of working and make the stores more organised for working and shopping.

An Usdaw spokesperson says: “We have been contacted by a number of our members from Hebden Bridge Co-op who have concerns about the staff restructuring process that store management are currently going through.

“We are providing the necessary support and representation for those members. If there are any other Usdaw members with concerns who haven’t yet raised them with us, we ask them to do so as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said: “In order to drive efficiencies and deliver savings that can be invested in providing an improved shopping experience for customers, we are reviewing processes and ways of working in our stores.

“Introducing new technology and improved working methods allows us to reduce hours currently spent on non-customer facing activities, and to reinvest the savings into serving our customers, and into our stores, ranges and products.

“This means we need to change some of the current working patterns at our Hebden Bridge store to ensure we have the right number of people working at the right times,” added the spokesperson.

“ We are now in discussions with colleagues to discuss the potential impact of this and how any changes may be implemented.”