Monday, 17 November 2014

Press Release - Save the Co-op warehouses!

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Press Release - For immediate release
Political Party Backs “Keep It Locale” Campaign to Save Co-op Warehouses

Jersey’s only political party, Reform Jersey, is backing the campaign to prevent the closure of the Channel Islands’ Co-operative Society’s local warehouse.
On Tuesday 18th November at 7:30pm at the Radisson Hotel, Co-op shareholders will be meeting to discuss and vote on the proposal by the board of directors to close the Channel Islands’ warehouse operations and relocate them to the UK.
The meeting has been initiated by Jasen Cronin and Philip Johnson who collected 50 signatures from local shareholders to force the Co-op to hold the meeting.
Reform Jersey Chairman Sam Mézec said - “It is really positive to see this grassroots action to protect local jobs and food security for islanders. Reform Jersey shares the concerns that have been raised by Mr Cronin and Mr Johnson about potential job losses and the impact losing a locally based warehouse will have during bad weather conditions when it is difficult to import produce into the island.
In these tough economic times we should be doing everything we can to keep people in work. The Co-op is meant to be a mutual society that is not just about maximising profits but is concerned about the public good. Every vote counts and the fate of these jobs and warehouses lies with the Co-op’s ordinary membership.”
Reform Jersey members have been volunteering over the past week handing out leaflets to raise awareness about the issues and to encourage Co-op members to attend the meeting and speak out against this proposed move.


  1. Of course the flip side to this is of course, food would be cheaper. This isn't about maximising profits - it's about lowering the cost base in order to compete with Sandpiper and Waitrose who already have this advantage in place. If the cost in delivery drops, then ultimately this has the effect of lowering the price for the products.

    So it is unfortunately a choice between the 81 local jobs + some additional food security OR cheaper food for islanders. The former concerns me, but given the cost of living is the biggest problem currently facing the island I am inclined to favour the later.

  2. Food retail is an increasingly competitive, and low margin, business. The people with the detailed knowledge of the company's operations, who are responsible to the owners of the company, its shareholders, have determined that the financial viability of the company, and its ability to continue supporting its 1000 employees, plus existing and future retirees, the local growing community, and myriad ancillary companies, is reliant on reducing costs.

    With little knowledge of the financial or operational position of the company, Reform are, I believe recklessly, asking members to vote against the recommendations of management, their own, and the company’s, financial interests, and this might ultimately compromise the company’s ability to remain a viable business.

    The company may be a mutual society, but it is still a company which must act primarily in the best interests of its members, and is managed by a team who are answerable to those members. The interests of its employees, unfortunately, are secondary to the interest of shareholders. Ultimately I’m sure most people would prefer a viable, profitable company, able to meet its obligations but with slightly fewer staff, than face the many consequences of no company at all.

    For these reasons, I support management’s recommendations.

    1. Usual Jersey Tory "they're a good bunch of blokes, probably know what they're doing, lets just trust them" attitude.

      Not good enough for the rest of us I'm afraid.

  3. That is an appalling answer to a number of valid counter points to Reform's stance on this matter. You are better than that.

    I am also interested in to whom you are referring as 'the rest of us' ? Would that be the thousands of Co-Op shareholders, whose interests you are encouraging a vote against ?

    1. It was blunt but the point stands.

      Your agenda is clear when you make such a rubbish point that I'm asking people to vote against their own interests. Be smarter than that. I'm asking people to vote in favour of saving dozens of jobs and sparing dozens of families hardship, as well as protecting the long term food security for islanders.

    2. I am a Co-op share holder and you speak for me Sam and I'll be going to the Town Hall tonight to vote accordingly. I will make myself known to you because I would like to get involved with Reform Jersey. Have you got any online (or otherwise) membership forms I can print off?

  4. Why do you feel the need to insult ? The point is not 'rubbish' and declaring it such merely reflects your wilful blindness to another's viewpoint.

    If I may be equally blunt, the society is run primarily for its members. If management believe that the society will be better able to withstand the growing competition in the food retail market if it makes these changes, that is in the members best interests.

    There are many more members than there are employees, therefore the greater good is served by the course of action management is recommending.

    Yes, you are asking for a vote to save dozens of jobs and avoid hardship, but you are endangering many more jobs and much more hardship if you drive the company into a more difficult financial situation, not to mention the company having to raise the prices of its goods to compensate for the loss of the efficiency saving.

    Do you not understand the implications of what you are suggesting ? It is not just a case of the society making more profit at the expense of a few jobs, but maintaining competitiveness, so it can continue to offer ALL consumers the essentials of daily life at reasonable prices.

    Does the provision of aircraft capacity in times of inclement sea conditions not aid food security. And how much of the company's products are presently imported from the UK, and are thus are already subject to weather constraints ?

    1. Nobody insulted anyone. Enough with the faux indignation. I get enough of that from the Tories in the States thanks.

      The doomsday prediction you're making if members don't buy your scaremongering is just ridiculous.

      In fact, it is exactly what I called it before. It's just Tory "the directors must know what they're doing, there must be no dissent at all here".

      If my position is untenable because I don't know what the directors know, then so is yours. They are equally as trustworth and untrustworthy at the same time to those who don't know all the figures.

      The aircraft point is such a poor one. A couple of years ago I spent three days trying to get to Jersey and had no fewer than 5(!) flights cancelled because of adverse weather conditions. That was just because of snow. I had a lot of friends who also had a nightmare when the Icelandic volcano went off too.

      And yes the Co-op already imports UK food, but the warehouse here allows them to stock up to 5 weeks worth. Closing it down reduces their capacity to 3 days. Some help that will be when the weather kicks off and prevents both flights and boats from getting in!

      You might be more concerned about the directors continuing to bleed to Co-op of half a million pounds of bonuses every year, but I'm more concerned about the vulnerable Islanders who could go hungry during the winter when food stocks run out when the weather hits.

      And if we're talking about competitiveness, I don't see how reducing the spending power of the Jersey public by raising unemployment is exactly going to help local businesses.

  5. Well done Sam and Reform Jersey. Meeting is at Radisson, by the way.

  6. Well done Sam and Reform Jersey by speaking up for the working class folk of Jersey while those spineless head nodding dogs of the CoM continue to feather their nests in the knowledge there is no opposition left in the states. Excluding yourself.

  7. Well looks like the Shareholders ultimately agreed with the board:

  8. Democracy. Don't you just hate it.

    1. If that's gloating at people losing their jobs, then you're a terrible human being. Jersey Tories at their finest!

  9. On the contrary. It's a comment on a sensible, and democratic, decision that will secure the future employment of 100's of people. A terrible human being would be somebody who attempted to make political capital by attempting to inveigle themselves into a corporate process they did not understand, playing on short term concerns, without any appreciation for the long term consequences of their actions.

    Your predictable attempt to turn this into a political ideology driven decision merely demonstrates your real motivations. Trying to play naive political games could have cost many many people their jobs, so you are in no position to be casting aspersions. However, as evidenced from your recent outbursts, I guess this is a modus operandi we can look forward to with a sad inevitability for the next four years.

    You need to take a good hard look at your actions, and how you treat others.

  10. Utter Tory claptrap. Reckless risking peoples jobs? For goodness sake grow up.

    This has nothing to do with how I treat "others" because this is not how I treat "others", it is about how I treat "Tories".

    When you make such a spurious argument, don't expect me to treat it seriously.

  11. Personally it seems that ultimately this has proven to be a very good example of corporate governance, although tempered somewhat by poor communication in the early stages.

    The board made a decision based on the information they had, and the board would have been very well informed as to the operations of the company they run. The decision however clearly concerned a number of shareholders, who quite rightly called the meeting in order to be become informed as to the reasons why and either support or reject that decision. The board dutifully called the meeting, provided the relevant information to the shareholders and thus suitably informed the shareholders chose to support the boards’ original decision.

    Clearly it would have been better if the board had provided suitable information to the shareholders prior to causing the concern – something which they appear to have acknowledged.

  12. It's a great shame that uk party bigotry has come to jersey. I for one won't be voting for them, it's too devisive. Who wants this type of politacl bigotry in Jersey, I think we need it like a hole in the head.

    1. You must be new to Jersey politics.

      It's been devisive [sic] since it's very beginning.

      Most of the 2011 - 2014 term there was no party politics and, in case you didn't notice, Jersey politics was still pretty divisive.

      In fact, in was pretty divisive in the 1700s and 1800s, but it was based on family alliances, rather than policy. In the 1940s members of the Jersey Progressive Party used to throw bricks through the windows of Jersey Democratic Movement supporters, made sure they got sacked and sent fascists to break up their meetings.

      I think we've made quite a bit of progress since then.