I won’t be precisely in the cradle of the modern global cooperative movement tomorrow evening, but I will be very close to it. I’ll be in Whitworth, just north of Rochdale, giving a talk in the public library there on nineteenth century productive cooperatives based on my recent book All Our Own Work.
The talk is one of a regular series organised by the library manager in Whitworth. All credit to him and to his library service for the initiative. 7pm start, by the way, if you’re anywhere near.
A major cooperative in the Mondragón family of cooperatives, Fagor Electrodomésticos, collapsed into receivership yesterday with debts of around 850m Euros. Fagor Electrodomésticos made ‘white goods’ (things like washing machines, fridges and ovens) in factories in the Basque country, in France, Poland and in several other countries worldwide.
The cooperative is autonomous but is federated in the Mondragón group (which includes well over 100 other cooperatives, together employing 80,000 people). The General Council of Mondragón, which is one of the most important European producer cooperative federations, decided at the end of last month that it could no longer continue to support Fagor Electrodomésticos financially. The group will however attempt to protect the 1000-1200 employees who were cooperative members.
I have written over the past 24 hours on Fagor for both Co-operative News and The Guardian, and will include links here when my stories are published.