Central Co-op Reinforces Commitment to Colleague Safety on International Worker’s Day
Posted by sam bishop | Published: 01/05/2023
As a Co-operative Society, Central Co-op's foundations are its Members and customers, but also the colleagues who work tirelessly to make a difference in stores and their communities. International Workers’ Day is the ideal moment to to celebrate the achievements of over 7,000 colleagues and reinforce the commitment to keeping them safe all year round.
In their latest figures for England and Wales, the Office of National Statistics revealed that shoplifting rose by 22% in the year to September 2022, and this month’s #ShopKind campaign from the Union of Shop, Distributive, and Allied Workers (USDAW) also highlighted from their survey that in the last 12 months, 74% of workers have experienced verbal abuse; 49% were threatened by a customer; and 8% were assaulted.
Central Co-op aims to make a positive difference for colleagues through three core strategies, encompassing:
Central Co-op continues to prioritise colleague safety, including investment in headsets to ease communication between colleagues; security guarding in and around stores; and centrally-monitored CCTV that can be activated at the touch of a button.
Bodycams have been installed in many Central Co-op stores as well, and Store Manager Gillian Evans – who participated in the original trial – said: “All of our colleagues have actually felt a lot safer since the introduction of bodycams. We now have peace of mind that aggressive behaviour can be recorded and handed to authorities if necessary, but we’ve also noticed that their presence defuses situations where tensions may escalate.”
Central Co-op has also been a vocal supporter of a change in the legal penalties for assaulting shop workers, campaigning for new legislation that has now been put into effect, in which abuse against individuals who serve the public has become an aggravated offence.
Within the community, the Offender to Rehab scheme in partnership with West Midlands Police continues to offer support to regular offenders, identifying the cause of their offences and making sure they go to the correct rehabilitation facilities.
Along with safety measures, Central Co-op also recently announced a move to £10.75 basic hourly rate of pay, plus paid breaks for colleagues in frontline positions. Central Co-op's ongoing commitment to health and wellbeing has seen several new benefits introduced, including a free annual health check for all colleagues, as well as access to a digital GP service that all colleagues and their immediate family members can use.
About Central Co-op
Central Co-op is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK, with a heritage stretching back over 175 years and interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.
Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,700 colleagues serve customers across 440 plus trading sites in 21 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
Its purpose is to create a sustainable Society for all.
It actively campaigns for food justice and works with FareShare Midlands and a network of local food banks. It also adds £1 to every Healthy Start Voucher redeemed in store and supports six schools in partnership with Magic Breakfasts.
The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. The Society is also a member of Diversity in Retail and it is fully committed to addressing the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon and food waste, increasing recycling and investment in community Sustainable Spaces funded by the carrier bag levy. It recently launched its Malawi Partnership to support farmers and producers in the country through the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund.
It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £109,769.25 shared out between 121 good causes in 2022.
Press office contact: Sam Bishop, PR Specialist