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  1. National

Co-op boss: 'Huge task ahead' after reform vote

The chair of the Co-operative Group says the unanimous vote in favour of wide-ranging reforms as a "highly significant moment" for the mutual, which slumped to £2.5 billion annual losses after a period of crisis.

Ursula Lidbetter said: "I am delighted that our members have made clear their commitment to far-reaching reform of our governance with this unanimous vote.

"There is a huge task ahead of us if we are to deliver the reforms necessary to restore the Group's reputation and return it to health but the board will work hand-in-hand with our members to ensure that we seize this opportunity.

"It is vital that the right changes are put in place as soon as possible to build a more effective organisation for our members, customers and colleagues."


  1. National

Co-op reform vote 'a step in the right direction'

Britain's biggest union has welcomed the vote for reform of the troubled mutual.

Adrian Jones, national officer of Unite, said: "The vote for reform is a welcome step in the right direction and one which we hope will put the Co-op Group on the road to stability.

"Going forward it is vital that our members and employees have a voice in the reform process for it to succeed and ensure the Co-op Group has a fighting chance while retaining its unique values and ethos."

  1. National

Undertakers, students and customers in Co-op vote

Undertakers, students and supermarket customers will all be represented in a key poll on the future of the Co-op but none will have an individual ballot.

Block votes will decide whether the troubled food-to-funerals group takes a step towards a radical shake-up seen as vital to securing its future.

The poll will canvass support on four key principles taken from a reform plan drawn up by former City minister Lord Myners, and must achieve a simple majority of over 50% to be taken forward.

Undertakers, students and supermarket customers will vote. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The byzantine voting structure includes a 22% share for independent societies and affiliated organisations, and the rest made up of regional boards, elected by the Co-op's area committees.

  1. National

Co-op ballot on slimmed down 'plc and beyond'

Former City minister Lord Myners wants to replace this with a slimmed-down "plc and beyond" structure staffed by professionally-trained directors.

The former Marks & Spencer boss was appointed a director of the Co-operative Group in December but announced he is to leave following this weekend's vote.

Former City minister Lord Myners. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He has said it was apparent to him from the first time he attended a board meeting that not one of its members had the ability to address the complex issues faced by a group burdened with £1.4 billion of debt.

This weekend's ballot will be decided by representatives of its independent societies and affiliated organisations - who hold 22% of the vote - and others voting on behalf of its regional membership boards making up the remaining 78%.

  1. National

Crucial vote will decide the future of the Co-op

A crucial poll will see the Co-op face its future later when key principles on radical reform of the troubled mutual go to the vote at a special meeting.

A crucial poll will see the Co-op face its future l Credit: : Nick Ansell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Former City minister Lord Myners has proposed a major shake-up of the food-to-funerals business after a disastrous period saw it slump to a £2.5 billion annual loss - its worst ever - in 2013.

But Lord Myners fears that traditionalists within the 150-year-old organisation are "still stuck in denial" about its problems and will not support the plans.

These include sweeping away the existing 20-strong board of representatives from the co-operative movement, who currently include an engineer, a plasterer and a retired deputy head teacher.