Building sustainable employment in Brazilian cooperatives

Despite a consolidated Labour Law since 1st May 1943 in Brazil, there is some adversity in the legal and socio-economic fields. However, worker cooperatives have played an important role in the sustainability of jobs: retaining the workforce, promoting competitive conditions for cooperatives and dignity for their members.

5 July 2011

By Geraldo Magela da Silva, OCB

Cooperatives have been established as a third way. It is less costly because a cooperative member is the master of his or her own business and supplier of workforce; and more plausible because the cooperative member is able to negotiate and establish better working conditions.

Worker cooperatives have made a huge effort to strengthen their organisations and principles. Under the OCB leadership there is a process of adding cooperative organisations to the document entitled ‘Criteria for identification of worker cooperatives’ which gives guidelines for two very important initiatives in the sector. On the one hand by the elaboration of a specific draft legislation aimed to regulate worker cooperatives and on the other hand by the National Compliance Program for Worker Cooperatives (PNC-Labour).

The new legislation reaffirms the worker cooperative and is independent from traditional Brazilian labour laws. This legal project is still pending in National Congress but it is ready to be approved by parliament in 2011 and signed by the President. After that, all cooperatives will have to comply with the requirements of the new law in order to be recognized and this will create clear standards to identify legitimate worker cooperatives.

The PNC provides worker cooperatives with the opportunity to officially differentiate themselves on the market. Companies hiring worker cooperatives which are participants in the PNC are assured a good standard of business. The company has the assurance that the cooperatives will follow the law and comply with the demands of the new draft legislation mentioned above. The cooperatives that have been awarded the title have an increasing number of customers and increasing revenue. They have increased the number of employees, increased membership and have credibility on the market.

To know more about this program visit

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
E-mail: cicopa[at]

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