The Co-op has found itself caught up in the dispute between the major UK trade union GMB and online retailing giant Amazon. The GMB union is putting pressure on the Co-op to remove its Amazon delivery lockers, according to the Guardian. Amazon's partnership with Co-op started back in 2012. Lockers were placed in 160 Co-op stores to allow shoppers to conveniently pick up goods they have ordered online (up to 30cm3).
The union has taken up a long-running campaign over Amazon's British warehouses' pay and conditions. Amazon is refusing to recognise the union and as a result, the union claims its officials are forced underground by the US giant's refusal to engage.
As part of the campaign, the union says it has already brought up the issue with the Co-op's chief executive Richard Pennycook and vows to have Amazon Lockers removed from all the Co-op's stores.
The GMB has been struggling with Amazon for some time
"We will intend take the issue to the wider membership of the Co-operative movement. Why it allows a competitor like Amazon floor space is hard to understand as Co-operative has a real cuckoo in the ethical nest," Martin Smith, GMB National Officer explained.
"GMB needs the support of Co-operative members to ensure that Amazon improves security of employment, treats workers fairly and pays them a wage they can live on in their distribution chain in the UK and elsewhere in the EU," said the union. Amazon allegedly pays the majority of its staff the national minimum wage of £6.39 an hour, with permanent staff starting on £7.
Both Amazon and The Co-op have declined to comment on the matter when asked by the newspaper.