PROPOSALS for Congress 2004 at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium have been received by Co-operatives UK.
A number of important issues for the Co-operative Movement are to be raised over the weekend of 21st - 23rd May.
Various worker co-operatives have combined to table a proposal to try to ensure that, in future, all tea and coffee served at Congress is Fairtrade-branded. United Co-operatives has welcomed the Movement's leading role in promoting Fairtrade products, but calls on societies to make products more easily available to members and customers, pointing out that many may be too expensive.
In a separate proposal, the Co-operative Group's Scottish Regional Board welcomes the wide range of Fairtrade products on sale in stores and looks forward to other Co-op-brand goods being exclusively Fairtrade, following on from the switch to Fairtrade chocolate and coffee.
The Society for Co-operative Studies suggests that Congress supports its call for societies to give consideration to research issues and needs and in particular to ways in which they can contribute to and support its annual conference, with a view to formulating a comprehensive and meaningful research strategy for the Movement.
United Co-operatives will make a stance on pension provision for Co-op employees and urge Congress to ask the Government to review its plans for the future of pensions and to look at providing incentives for employers to maintain and continue with providing final salary pension schemes.
The Co-operative Group's Wales and Borders Regional Board will call on the Movement to provide greater support for the Co-operative Party, "be it financial, organisational, manpower or any other resources".
Co-operatives UK is asking delegates to confirm that basic membership subscription rates be increased by two per cent.
Organisers say this year's Congress theme ? "Diverse enterprise, shared values, common wealth" ? has been chosen to highlight how the Movement is growing ever more varied in terms of the business sectors and types of co-operatives becoming involved with Co-operatives UK.
A large and diverse Congress exhibition will be open throughout the weekend and there will also be a full programme of fringe meetings, workshops and events.
For further information on Congress 2004, contact Rita Butler on 0161 246 2908 or e-mail.