richard pennycook

Co-op CEO Richard Pennycook has reassured European colleagues and their families that their futures in the UK will be safe after Brexit.

In a blog aimed at Co-op members yesterday, Pennycook said the aftermath of the EU referendum had caused great uncertainty for its 3,000 European colleagues but said the government was listening to the group’s concerns.

“When we include our colleagues’ partners and children, we estimate there are about 10,000 people in our wider ‘Co-op family’ anxious about their future,” he wrote.

Pennycook said he had raised the issue with the government. “As a Co-op and as a major employer in the UK, I felt it was our responsibility to raise the issue on their behalf. I did so directly to George Osborne, the then Chancellor, when we met at a conference in the week following the referendum result and then in a letter published in The Times on 29 June.

“In the last few days the government has confirmed to us that it ‘fully expects’ that when we do leave the EU the legal status of EU citizens living here, and our own nationals working in the EU, will be ‘properly protected’.”

Pennycook said the news would be welcomed by colleagues.

“As a Co-op we speak out on matters of concern to our colleagues and our wider membership,” he said. “It’s a responsibility we’ve always taken seriously and we’ll continue to do so in the years ahead.”