Co-op to make 770 community helpers redundant

Co-op external store sign Image source, Getty Images

Co-op has said it will make 770 community support staff redundant to streamline the way the division operates.

The mutual said that the Member Pioneers team, most of whom dedicate four hours of paid time per week to helping their local communities, are expected to lose their roles next month.

Their work includes organising charity work to promoting mental wellbeing, connecting people to combat loneliness and picking up litter.

The move has been criticised by those affected, but Co-op denies it goes against their company values of serving and protecting local communities.

The Co-op said its current model of community-led field work, comprising of part-time positions, was not as efficient as it could be.

Currently, Member Pioneers work four hours per week, and Member Pioneer Coordinators work 18 hours per week.

The number of jobs will be cut down and replaced by 61 new full-time equivalent "Member Engagement Activator" roles in August, who will be regionally-based across the UK.

Co-op has begun consultations with trade union Usdaw to discuss the planned changes and their impact on current employees.

Many Member Pioneers and Coordinators have expressed their anger about the redundancy announcements, saying that it goes against the business' ethos of community care.

One wrote on X, formally known as Twitter, that the news was "very sad & disappointing" after working in the role for five years.

Another criticised Co-op's move, saying that its "'exciting new vision' moves away from their traditional community values".

A Co-op spokesperson said: “We have an exciting vision for the future, one which places Co-op Member Ownership back at the heart of our Co-op, with an ambition to grow membership from 5 million to 8 million active member-owners by 2030."

The spokesperson added that the company recognised "the impact this proposal may have on a number of our colleagues".

"Our priority now is to support those potentially impacted and help find alternative roles within our business."