The Instituto de Promoción para la Economía Solidaria/IPES (Institute for the Promotion of a Solidarity Economy, in English) spent February putting the wheels in motion for a series of 35 forums taking place from March onwards. Bringing together the region's cooperatives and unions they will provide an opportunity to make headway on a definitive federal law for a solidarity economy. "We'd like to get a lot of different people involved: grassroots members, federations and confederations; academics; and the general public", explained José Orbaiceta, president of IPES.
"There’s a gap in legislation for worker cooperatives. Legislation only really happens when judges make rulings. The Instituto Nacional de Asociativismo y Economía Social/INAES (National Institute of Associativism and Social Economy, in English) has provided some regulation but there’s still no actual law in place to govern self-management. That’s why it’s so important for us to push ahead with it". He went on to say "I hope the discussions will help put together a strong legal framework, something to be voted in parliament involving all the political parties. We’re looking at a state-wide policy".
"We want mainstream parties to see that a solidarity economy – cooperatives, mutuals, and all forms of associativism – are part of society. They need to take us into account when they’re developing public policies. That will be the law of the movement", he added. Ariel Guarco, President of the Confederación Cooperativa de la República Argentina/Cooperar (Argentina’s Cooperative Federation, in English), said: "It’s an opportunity for us to meet up with our very foundations: the mutuals and cooperatives".
The President of Confederación Nacional de Cooperativas de Trabajo/CNCT (National Confederation of Worker Cooperatives, in English) Christian Miño, stressed "the law needs to be approved by the end of this year”. Discussing the various modifications the confederation plans to propose, he outlined changes linked to tax, specifically in relation to self-employment, and to setting up a cooperative society - CNCT believes there shouldn’t be any obstacles in place.
All cooperative representatives agreed this was a "historic opportunity": to re-examine and draft regulations together at the forums, and, hopefully, to take it to parliament.
Where do we stand now?
In Argentina, December 2014, a draft was put forward to replace regulation No. 20,321 for mutual associations, and No 20,337 for cooperatives: both of which have been in place since the 1970s. Dr Patricio Griffin, director of INAES, supported the move, saying "the feeling is that the law should be debated by society, by the Argentinian people, more than a parliamentary majority. We want the Argentinian people themselves to approve the law”.
Almost 10% of Argentina’s GDP comes from the solidarity economy, with 14 million associations, 9000 cooperatives, and more than 1.3 million job posts across the country.
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