Ethical? Ha-ha!

Charles Cowling

The story so far…


15 Jun 09, 7:05pm

Here’s one about Funeralcare.

Funeralcare has derecognised the GMB union, in the process securing its expulsion from the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and, I think, the Glastonbury Festival. It has been condemned by the TUC. This is a betrayal of the foundational principles and values of the Rochdale Pioneers and would seem to render the Co-op ethically redundant.

Funeralcare may be seen by many to be the People’s Undertaker. How do you justify the high price of your funerals given the economies of scale you enjoy? You are in a position to undercut every other undertaker in the land.

In terms of competence, Funeralcare is scandal-ridden. In the funeral industry, Co-op is synonymous with Cock-op.

I have cancelled my smile account in protest at this. No one at smile felt inclined to debate this with me.


16 Jun 09, 11:14am

OK, quite a backlog to get through: here goes… btw, I’m Co-operative’s Head of Social Goals

To Raggedexile… re funeralcare and GMB, we recognise a number of trades unions for the purposes of collective bargaining, however, we need to do this on a national basis as we are a national provider, and GMB were looking to represent a relatively small number of workers


16 Jun 09, 12:26pm

Paul, with ref to Funeralcare, you recognise UCATT, which has a tiny number of members. I really can’t follow your logic.

And you overlook the big point: How can the Co-op, of all organisations, derecognise a trade union and stay true to its founding principles and values?

And how do you answer this: the TUC has condemned Funeralcare for its victimisation and harassment of shop stewards.

And what of the cost of your funerals? You can answer this by telling us how profitable Funeralcare is.

What would the Rochdale Pioneers make of all this?


17 Jun 09, 11:46am

Whoah, no-one is ducking anything.

Think can see from responses to date we have addressed virtually everything raised.

Just didn’t expect so many detailed questions (and am fitting in answering between meetings and such).


17 Jun 09, 2:04pm

Paul, you run the risk of being discourteous at the very least. You have given an undertaking to address questions posed by readers and now you dash in and out breathlessly pleading meetings and such. Is that how important this exercise is to you?

Are you fobbing me (and everybody else) off when you say ‘Think can see from responses to date we have addressed virtually everything raised’? I think it is for us to declare our satisfaction with your responses, not you.

You have not answered my central question: does Funeralcare’s derecognition of the GMB union not amount to a betrayal of the Co-op’s founding principles and disqualify it as an ethical enterprise?

Please would give this greater than cursory attention?


17 Jun 09, 5:11pm

Hello? Hel-lo? Anyone there?

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