I visit my local Co-op Group store at least once a day and sometimes more often, not because I just can’t keep away from the place but because it’s about 100 metres from my front door and I have adopted the just-in-time approach to shopping.
So I get a pretty good sense of what’s going on there. At the moment, the staff are unhappy. Their hours of work are being renegotiated. The HR person comes on visits and is available to talk to in the office. One employee tells me his evening and weekend shifts already keep him away from his family, and he will be forced to leave if asked to do any more. Concerned customers have started writing to the local paper about it all, criticising the co-op.
And as the staff keep saying to us as we queue up at the tills, they get paid less than Tesco staff anyway.
Businesses have to be able to restructure and reorganise their way of working, and that includes their staffing provision. But I would expect an ethical business to be going about it in a significantly different way to that of a conventional business. I don’t see that happening here, I’m afraid.
(And by the way, I have a feeling the Tesco bit is true).