Worker co-op Suma is expanding its wholefood distribution operation via a new warehouse in south east England. The move will create five new jobs; three full-time drivers, one part-time driver and a co-ordinator. The roles will enjoy the same equal pay as existing members.
The distribution centre in Greenford, West London, is 6,000 square feet plus a small office. It will enable Suma to extend its service in London and the south east by offering additional delivery days to many customers. The co-op has not added to its fleet, which is based at its headquarters in Elland, West Yorkshire.
The recruits are not yet co-op members as the centre is being run on a trial basis for 18 months. If the trial proves successful the co-op will create a path to membership for the new workers.
To help them feel a part of the co-op their first two weeks of training took place in Elland. They met Suma workers, did team-building activities and toured other departments.
They attended committee meetings and Suma’s quarterly general meeting and Suma provided training on co-operatives. The new recruits also went out with regular drivers and met customers.
Simon Greenwood, Suma’s distribution co-ordinator, said the co-op was doing it’s best to maintain a strong connection with the new workers: “We’ve taken on Elland-based co-ordinators – existing Suma members – that spend a week at the southern distribution centre on rotation,” he said. “This way our new workers can be kept informed of all the latest developments at Suma and feed into our decision-making processes.
“We’re also looking at organising ‘job swaps’ so workers in the south can spend some time based up in Elland as a driver, with the chance to work out of our main warehouse and feel like they’re part of the business.”