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MPs react to C4's undertaker doc

Labour MPs have tabled an early day motion following True North’s Dispatches: Undercover Undertaker on Co-operative Funeralcare that aired earlier this week on Channel 4.

The motion stated MPs were “shocked and disgusted” by the Channel 4 doc which showed the funeral care provider stored coffins containing bodies in warehouses on industrial estates.

Sponsored by Labour MP Roger Godsiff and backed by fellow party members Ronnie Campbell and Virendra Sharma, it went on to call for the resignation of those staff responsible.

“This House… believes that a mutual organisation can, and should, have higher ethical standards than a purely profit-orientated company,” the motion said.

Co-operative Funeralcare managing director George Tinning said the footage aired was not “typical” of its business.

“We operate specialised facilities in each area servicing various branches in that area and in those facilities we have mortuaries, coffin storage, garaging and the like.

“Most of them are associated with funeral homes, very few of them are on high streets because it would be totally inappropriate to have mortuaries in every high street,” he said.

“You can rest assured that although this is a side of our business that the public don’t see, that they are amongst the finest in the profession and facilities that we are very proud of.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • But surely hospital morgues are just the same, deceased have to be stored somehow, yes they should have been individually wrapped but I fail to see how else they can be stored, and this storage is only short term until they are prepared, coffined and taken to the chapels of rest.

    They are hardly likely to store deceased any longer than necessary.I also fail to see what the commotion is about empty wrapped coffins being delivered to their hub, how else are they to take delivery of the necessary furniture for a funeral?

    I think Dispatches was a witch hunt against the Co-op, someone with a huge grudge was in the position of being able to turn the screws and man did they turn them.

    i have used Co-op funeral Care in the past and would do so again, I completely trust their professionalism and I am sure that the staff featured in the documentary will be dealt with appropriately.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I was interested to read the passionate defence of Co-Operative Funeralcare by Barbara Bates (above). The posting displays all the vocabulary and expertise of someone who knows the business very well.

    But I cannot help but wonder if the Barbara Bates so critical of the Dispatches film is the same Barbara Bates who, the website of a charity fundraising campaign informs me, works at the Co-Operative Funeralcare branch in Shildon.

    If she is, it’s sad that staff who want to publicly defend the firm are forced to hide their financial relationship with it.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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