Top 10 Scrooge bosses of the year - Co-op Funeralcare

UniteLive highlights this year's worst employers, including coffin-making factory operators Co-op Funeralcare

Reading time: 4 min

This year throughout the festive period, UniteLive will highlight our top ten worst bosses of the year – employers so miserly and mean that they’d put Scrooge himself to shame.

Today we look at Co-op Funeralcare, which Unite has accused of “using a model of industrial relations straight out of Charles Dickens”.

The company operates its only coffin-making factory in Govan, Scotland, and Unite members working there are angry that their bosses are refusing to offer them anything more than the below-inflation wage offer they’ve previously put forward.

Their dispute has now entered its fourth month, with Unite members having taken five days of strike action from December 19.

Ahead of the strike, Unite discovered a new revelation that puts Co-op Funeralcare squarely among our top Scrooge bosses. It turns out that over the last year, the company has spent over £1m on purchasing coffins from third party suppliers at a time when the dispute with their own workforce could be successfully resolved for a fraction of this cost.

Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Co-op management said they had more than enough coffins to get them through this dispute. Well, first it turned out they didn’t have enough and have sought to buy coffins from a 3rd party supplier at huge cost.

“Second, they didn’t take account of the resilience of the workers,” she said. “Management are clearly trying to break their own loyal workforce. In fact their model of industrial relations is straight out of Charles Dickens. Their actions are only adding to the discontent and determination of the workforce.”

Unite industrial officer Willie Thomson likewise lambasted the Scrooge firm.

 “The actions of Co-operative Funeralcare have been found lacking any Christmas spirit,” he said. “The Co-operative values of a different, fairer and better way of doing business have been replaced with a Scrooge-like attitude to the current cost of living crisis our members face. Management would rather fork out cash to other coffin suppliers in the hope of breaking our members resolve, than to put a fraction of that money towards solving this dispute.

“The continued actions of Co-operative Funeralcare are bad ethically, bad managerially and bad economically,” he continued. “It’s time for their Group CEO, Shirine Khoury-Haq to become personally involved and negotiate a resolution. The current actions of Funeralcare continue to tarnish the reputation of not only the Funeralcare side of the business but the wider Co-op Group.”

Stay tuned for our final Scrooge boss tomorrow.

By UniteLive team