Autonomy and solidarity for Mondragon’s coops

Work Together, the e-newsletter published by CICOPA (the international federation of workers’ and producer cooperatives), is always worth a look and the latest edition arrives in my inbox this morning. Among other stories there’s one about the Mondragon Corporation’s moves to discuss how the cooperative federation should in future combine autonomy and self-management for its individual constituent cooperatives with federation-wide solidarity between the coops. This is an important discussion, one which has relevance outside the particular context of Mondragon.

On close reading, CICOPA’s story is simply a report of the Mondragon conference last December which I covered myself in a blog here on Dec 17th.  But it has reminded me that I need to continue to monitor the discussions at Mondragon. I’ll let you know here as and when I find out more.


On worker(s’) cooperatives

I was writing a piece yesterday about the way that cooperatives adhere – or sometimes don’t adhere – to core labour standards and fundamental rights in the workplace and was advised to have a look at the World Declaration on Worker Cooperatives, prepared by the global worker coop federation CICOPA and agreed in 2005. It’s good. I like the definition of workers’ cooperatives “having the objective of creating and maintaining sustainable jobs and generating wealth, in order to improve the quality of life of the worker-members, dignify human work, allow workers’ democratic self-management and promote community and local development”.

I hadn’t come across the Declaration before and should have done, I think. Well done, CICOPA.

Incidentally, just as we in Britain say tomahto and over in the States they say tomaato, we say workers’ coop and they say worker coop. How did that come about?  Should we try to come to some sort of agreement on this?

Another week, another cooperative…

Having just posted about the social enterprise ‘advent calendar’, it seems to make sense to give a plug for the one-coop-a-week initiative from CICOPA, the global voice of workers’ cooperatives.  CICOPA are posting a short introduction to a selected cooperative each week on Facebook and Twitter (the Twitter hashtag is #1coop1week).  Thanks to this I know, for example, how the workers now run the Molino Santa Rosa flour mill in Uruguay and how the Yellowstone Glass Recyclers in Northern Canada are turning waste glass into fancy new glassware.  And there’s plenty of other enterprising cooperative stories, from Japan to Wales.

As well as social media, CICOPA posts the 1coop1week entries on a website.