The bankruptcy of the Sociedad Argentina Grasos y Derivados in the Argentinian Province of Santa Fe had left 83 people without a job. It was revived by creating the Cañada Rosquín cooperative in 2006, which produces soaps, detergents and candles. Over the past two years the cooperative has doubled its production to 400 tonnes.
Laura Coria, Fecootra
In a small town of 6,500 inhabitants where the economy is predominantly based on agriculture and animal husbandry, with little industry and a high production of soya beans, the revival of the soap-making plant was a significant event, not only for the town but also in terms of preserving industry in that particular area.
“We started seeing strange things happening in 2005 already because equipment was being taken away from the company. We were even owed between 4 and 5 months’ salary. The employers started defaulting on clients by taking part of the payment for merchandise that they weren’t delivering”, Magdalena Cabrera pointed out, a cooperative member, situated in the western central part of the Province of Santa Fe, in the Republic of Argentina, 449 km from Buenos Aires. She recounts that faced with this situation the workers became acquainted with cooperativism and took over the management of the plant: “Slowly but surely we arranged things with the creditors, we signed legal agreements and saw to it that the Provincial Law for Expropriation was enforced”, she added.
“We are planning on opening a plant in two new areas: Salta and San Juan”, announced Cabrera. The cooperative produces SIGNO soaps, SIRKIS bars of soap, CARABELA soap for washing and candles, and LA PERDIZ soaps, all well-known brands throughout Argentina.
The cooperative, located in the Cañada de Rosquín municipality, became an example: “Our work fills people with pride and dignity. Furthermore, we promote the cooperative movement to schools when they come and visit our sites to experience what a cooperative is.”
The worker cooperative obtained the “100% cooperative” seal in 2013, which was issued by the government of the Province of Santa Fe to strengthen entities whose headquarters where in the provincial territory, “it is an honour that fills us with great pride because it is clear proof that we did things well. We started out producing 150 tonnes a month, but for the past three years we’ve been producing 400 tonnes a month”, the associate of the revived soap-making plant joyfully stated. The plant markets its products in the Provinces of Santa Fe, Córdoba, Buenos Aires, Chaco, Formosa, Corrientes, Misiones and Entre Ríos.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037