Politics and co-operatives: exploring the sector’s relationship with the Co-op Party

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This year’s Co-operative Party conference will look at the organisation’s relationship with the co-operative sector.

The event, which takes place on 19-20 September and is entitled ‘The party, the politics, the movement’, features keynote speeches from Dave Ward, secretary general of the Communications Workers Union, and Labour/Co-op MP Stella Creasy.

A number of sessions will explore how the party can support the wider co-operative movement and advance co-operative policies, with contributions from Ramsey Dunning of Co-operative Energy; Linda Wallace, chief executive of CDS Co-operatives; Simon Parkinson, principal of the Co-operative College; and Hazel Blears, member nominated director at the Co-operative Group.

Also on the agenda is local government. A special session will look at how the party can support the co-operative movement, with local government delivering more co-operative communities.

And Mr Ward will give a presentation on People’s Post, a campaign to defend postal services after the change in ownership at Royal Mail. The campaign’s aims include the establishment of a workers trust in Royal Mail that gives staff a meaningful collective voice.

Because the Party published its policy manifesto in the run-up to the general election, this year’s conference will not include specific policy debates, but MPs and peers will take part in a question and answer session on future priorities.

There will also be a series of workshops and fringe events focusing on issues such as being a co-operative council, running local campaigns and training activists and officers.

Fringe meetings will be run by organisations within the movement, such as Co-operative Energy, Social Enterprise UK, Abcul, the Phone Co-op, London Capital Credit Union and the Socialist Environment and Resources Association.

The Party’s annual meeting takes place on the Sunday where members will discuss organisational motions and rule changes. Delegates can also attend a welcome reception on Friday, 18 September at 7pm and can register for the conference dinner on Saturday, 19 September.

• For more information, visit: party.coop/conference-2015-agenda.

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