A website has been set up to encourage Heart of England Co-operative Society members to call for the halt of the society’s department store closures.
In September, the co-operative announced the phased closure of all its non-food retail offerings over the following 12 months, across Nuneaton, Bedworth, Atherstone, Hinckley, Rugby and Leamington Spa.
The closures were announced following a review of the society’s non-food operation as a whole. “It is a decision which has by no means been taken lightly, however the retail environment has become increasingly challenging and this, coupled with the growth in online shopping, has meant that our non-food division is no longer viable as a business,” said a statement from the society at the time.
However, members are protesting at the lack of consultation over the decision, and now locals have teamed up with David Bill, Liberal Democrat councillor for Hinckley and Bosworth, to urge society members to visit the www.heartofengland.website which includes information about how to save the stores.
Under the society’s rules, members have the right to call for a special members’ meeting (SMM), requesting the suspension of all closure actions, until a full and proper consultation with the members has been undertaken (rules 44-51). SMMs can be convened either on an order of the board, or on a written requisition signed by 100 members.
“Clear guidelines as to the process which must be followed are contained in the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s rule book,” said the society in a statement in response to the website. “If the correct procedures are followed then the Society will call a special members’ meeting.”