// Co-op encourages its 4.6m members to donate unspent rewards worth up to £30m to new coronavirus fund
// The funding will be donated to Covid-19 relief efforts
// Co-op CEO Steve Murrells takes 20% pay cut
Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells has agreed to a 20 per cent pay cut over the next three months to begin its Members’ Coronavirus Fund.
The retailer hopes to raise £30 million with unspent rewards from its 4.6 million members, which it will donate to food banks, a funeral hardship fund and other frontline community causes.
Co-op estimated that its members have built up points worth £30 million by earning a reward of five per cent every time they buy a Co-op brand or service, and has encouraged them to donate these points to its new coronavirus fund.
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The retailer said members could now visit their online “wallet” on the Co-op website and choose to donate the reward points to the Co-op members’ coronavirus fund.
Meanwhile, Murrells said he would top up the fund by donating 20 per cent of his salary for the next three months to Covid-19 relief efforts.
Murrells was paid an annual salary of £869,000 in 2018, excluding bonus pay, which could mean a personal donation of more than £200,000 to the new fund.
“Millions of people are suffering financial hardship at the moment and so it felt right for me to offer to take this pay cut and directly support causes which are very important to me and close to my heart,” Murrells said.
“One per cent of what our members spend already goes to local causes and now if they wish they can donate their five per cent personal rewards to help lessen the impact the emergency is having on millions of our fellow citizens.”
The news comes after Co-op rival Morrisons set aside £500,000 over the next three months to offer additional protection, services and support to homeless people amid the coronavirus crisis.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Morrisons is committed to helping the most vulnerable in our society. We know that the coronavirus outbreak presents a particular risk to the homeless and we want to do our bit to help.
“This new fund will help charities doing vital work to care for the homeless at this critical time.”
The retailer has also created an extra 5000 jobs in its stores to cope with increased demand.