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The President of CICOPA Americas, Arildo Mota from Brazil, and the President of CICOPA Mercosur, José Orbaiceta, from Argentina, shared their expertise at the seminar on trade unions and worker cooperatives organized by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 9 May in Geneva, at a session on Latin America which the CICOPA Secretary General, Bruno Roelants, chaired.
The seminar was focused on the relationship between worker cooperatives and trade unions. It was the occasion to bring together researchers, practitioners and representatives of different cooperative organizations from around the world, to discuss some of the issues and experiences that worker cooperatives and trade unions are facing today in their relations. At the workshop representatives of worker cooperatives from Canada, Italy and India were also present.
José Orbaiceita reported his own experience, affirming that in Argentina and in the MERCOSUR trading area, “worker cooperatives are thriving with the support of regional governments”. Precisely, in Argentina, “the cooperatives and mutual societies are so important that they produce 10% of the national GDP, make up 30.000 companies and offer half a million jobs”, he said. The main goal for the future is that in 2030, “cooperatives can produce 30% of GDP, and that way achieve a more integrated, equitable and fair economy”.
The ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities and the ILO’s Cooperative Branch organized this seminar to underline the importance of worker cooperatives for trade unions; in fact, as shown by the ILO, even if the economic contribution of cooperatives is often undervalued, “the reality is that the top 300 cooperatives worldwide have a turnover of more than 1.9 trillion dollars combined”, showing that “cooperative enterprises across sectors and regions are proving to be relatively more resilient to the current market shocks than their capital-centred counterparts ”.
The presentations made during this seminar will be included in the 2013 issue of the International Journal of Labour Research, published by the ILO in several languages.
 Cooperatives today: Challenges and opportunities, ILO : http://www.ilo.org/actrav/info/pr/WCMS_213266/lang--en/index.htm?shared_from=shr-tls
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
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