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Thursday, 24 January 2013 21:51

Co-Op is most Gay Friendly

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The UK’s largest mutual retailer The Co-operative has ranked as one of the best workplaces in the UK for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees. 

The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index which grades private and public sector organisations across the UK on how well they are doing in their support of lesbian, gay and bisexual matters has just announced that The Co-operative is the 3rd best organisation to work for in the UK, and for the fourth consecutive year they are the only retailer in the Top 100. The Co-operative’s inclusive LGBT employee network Respect, with over 1200 employee members, has also been awarded Stonewalls ‘Star Performer Network Group’ recognition for the third consecutive year.

This is the first year that a retailer has entered the top 10 of the index.

Paul Flowers, Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group, Deputy Chair of The Co-operative Group and Senior Sponsor for the Respect network commented, “Being an inclusive employer, it is important that we ensure all of our employees have an equally positive experience whilst at work. The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index is highly thought of and being a part of the index for the last seven years has shown how we as an employer have made many positive changes within the workplace. We look forward to working further with Stonewall to identify those areas we can improve on and to further enhance the workplace experience for our employees. Cracking the top ten for the first time is a superb achievement that demonstrates The Co-operative is a great place to work. Well done to everyone involved including our Employee Engagement and Diversity team, HR People Services, Procurement teams and the Respect network Steering Group.”

Liz Bramley, Head of Employee Engagement and Diversity commented, “The 2013 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index has been one of the strongest to date. To improve eight places on our 2012 ranking is a brilliant achievement and a real testament to the hard work of so many teams and individuals throughout the business. As in previous years, we are competing not only against private businesses across the UK but public sector bodies as well such as individual police forces, universities, charities and NHS Trusts, with more and more entering each year. This success could not have been achieved without the collaborative efforts and the huge level of senior sponsorship and support we receive for our work.”

Thomas Anderson and Victoria Cowley, Co-chairs of the Respect LGBT employee network added, "We have been amazed by the support we have witnessed from Senior Leaders from all business areas in championing the Respect network. Their commitment to ensuring The Co-operative is a business that really values our employees differences and where all employees can come to work, perform to the best of our abilities and have an equally positive experience should reassure us all that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or/and transgender at The Co-operative should not be a barrier to our career progression and enjoyment in our roles. Thank you to the hundreds of employees that have supported the Respect network all over the UK in the last twelve months and contributed to our success in the index. To be awarded the ‘Star Performer Network Group’ for the third consecutive year is a fantastic start to the year.”

The news follows a very busy 2012 where The Co-operative supported over 20 LGBT events all over the UK including sponsoring Manchester and Cardiff Pride’s as well as supporting many LGBT charities and community groups. It has just been announced that The Co-operative will be sponsoring Student Pride 2013 in Brighton that takes places between 1 – 3 March.

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