Proposals for Co-op Congress

In advance of the Co-op Congress, 28th June 2104, we are submitting proposals on co-operative identity, living wage, salary ratios and member participation. Please comment, support and share.

Proposals for Co-op Congress

Debate 1: How do we promote the co-operative message and secure our identity?
Proposal 1: Co-operative Identity
It is problematic that shareholder owned organisations and brands, such as The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Travel, are allowed to trade using the co-operative identity. It is also problematic that The Co-operative Bank holds membership of Co-operatives UK. Congress calls on Co-operatives UK to review which organisations should be eligible to use the name “co-operative”. This review should include a full and open consultation with members of Co-operatives UK and the International Co-operative Alliance – the ultimate guardians of co-operative values and principles. Co-operatives UK should report back on this review of Co-operative identity no later than Congress 2015.

Proposal 2: Living Wage
Co-operatives UK should become a living wage employer (currently £7.65 per hour). This would follow the example of some of its members, such as Midcounties co-operative.

Proposal 3: Salary ratio
People expect co-operatives to promote fairness and equality. Many members of Co-operatives UK have a salary ratio of one. Many large international co-operatives report a salary ratio of 6 or 9. Co-operatives UK should report a salary ratio. Co-operatives UK should have a maximum salary ratio of 9. With at least a living wage for all workers, this would allow Chief Executive remuneration to be up to £139,626 per annum.

Debate 2: How do we take participation in co-operatives to the next level?
Proposal 4: Member participation
Congress expects Co-operatives UK, as a co-operative itself, to lead by example regarding member participation. Co-operatives UK should:

  • have a culture of, and strategy for, member engagement
  • recruit and retain more than 20% of co-operatives into membership (currently around 11% – 681 members/”over 6,000 co-ops”)
  • bench-mark its performance with its peers in other countries, such as Legacoop, Italy
  • have a governing document that allows one member one vote at General Meetings
  • prevent a single member organisation holding more than 20% of Board seats
  • have a transparent procurement policy and opportunities for member economic participation in Co-operatives UK
  • aim to become a campaigning organisation, as well as a trade association
  • create effective mechanisms for individuals to take part in campaigning for co-operation, including consideration of individual membership of Co-operatives UK

Proposal 5: Database
Congress is very concerned about the robustness of Co-operatives UK’s databases of co-operatives and community shares societies. Co-operatives UK should increase resources to work with Regional Co-operative Councils and Co-operative Development Bodies to significantly update its databases.

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