Guernsey Press

Coop members reject all motions put forward by society’s board

Coop members rejected all four motions put forward by the society’s board at this week’s special meetings.

Mark Cox, Chief Executive of the Channel Islands Cooperative Society. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33015559)

Meetings took place in Guernsey and Jersey on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide on proposals to change the society’s governance arrangements. A two-thirds majority was needed for motions to pass and three of the proposals were only narrowly defeated.

CEO Mark Cox thanked members who had attended the meetings.

‘While it’s a little disappointing not to have achieved a two-thirds majority required to pass the changes, I take a lot of comfort that the majority in attendance supported the rule changes.’

Motions one and two, concerning the election of the chairman and how long directors could stand, and motion four, to introduce proxy voting, all achieved over 60% of the vote.

Only motion three, which sought to reduce the minimum annual spend criteria for directors from £1,300 to £500, failed to gain more than half the votes cast.

A Coop spokesman said the board remained dedicated to reviewing rule changes.

‘However, we will take some time to pause and contemplate as we prepare for the annual members meeting taking place later this year,’ he said.

‘Our immediate focus is on securing suitable candidates for election as directors for the Channel Islands Coop, and we are urging members to participate in the AMM to exercise their democratic right to vote for their board representatives.’

Former Coop director Sue Ryde said she was very pleased that all of the motions had been rejected by members.

‘Over the last few years there has been a move to run the Coop as a PLC which has been detrimental to the performance of the society and has taken the focus away from serving the community,’ she said.

She added that Guernsey had not been fully represented on the board, as there had been a vacancy for a Guernsey-elected director resulting from the eligibility controls applied by the board.

‘With over 120,000 members across the Channel Islands it’s difficult to understand why that has been permitted. I suggest that, counter to what the chairman Jon Bond has reportedly said, it demonstrates recent reduction in member control. The reduction and likely loss of the dividend, the first since the 1980s, is further evidence of this.’

Channel Islands Coop members were warned at the beginning of February to expect the possibility of having a reduced dividend payment or none at all this year.

The society has paid 4% in dividend to shareholders every year since 1980. The issue will be on the agenda for the society’s annual meeting in Guernsey on Tuesday 21 May at the St Pierre Park Hotel.