Grocer’s bonus scheme is big carrot

Co-operative firm Unicorn Grocery has launched a new bonus scheme that gives all staff an equal share of profits.

Since the organic food company launched in 1996, it has been ploughing all profits back into the business. But this year its 45 staff got a payout of £1,000 each.

Gwyn Jones, co-operative member on the personnel team, said: "We managed to pay ourselves a bonus for the first time, based on the financial figures for last year.

"We have had several good years, but of course we have been building the business up, so a lot of money has gone to pay for our premises and we also have considerable loans. We couldn’t just get the profit, take a big lump sum and go off somewhere nice," he added.

As a partnership business, all employees that had been with the firm for 12 months or more received an equal sum, regardless of role.

"Not everybody had been a member for the full 12 months, but if they had been a member for at least four months then they got a proportional bonus. We hope it is something that will continue."

He said the fair pay-outs fitted in with the company’s values; managers and shop assistants share much more similar wages than in other businesses.

Unicorn also recently switched providers for its ethical pension scheme to get better returns for staff. "We transferred it to the Co-operative Bank. We feel that some aspects of it are an improvement," he said.