Ownership at the workplace: at least 11 million people are worker-members of their cooperative

On the International ‪‎Workers’ Day‬, CICOPA wishes to stress how the democratic participation and control of worker-members reinforce the economic sustainability of the enterprise and its resilience in times of crisis. With the recent transformation of the world economy, this is no longer a marginal model, indeed, according to the results of the study, “Cooperatives and Employment: a global report”, carried out by CICOPA, at least 11 million people worldwide are worker-members, namely at the same time employees and owners of their cooperative.‬‬‬

1 May 2015

“Worker and social cooperatives put employees at the heart of the decision-making process. Together, they decide about the present and future of their enterprise”, said the president of CICOPA, Manuel Mariscal.

The study found out that cooperative employment in general (including also employees and self-employed producers) includes a mix of participation, a family-like feeling, strong identification with one’s enterprise, a sense of pride and reputation, a feeling of implementing values though one’s work, while, at the same time, having a strong, awareness of the economic demands of the enterprise, its need to be efficient and flexible; it showed that these characteristics were particularly strong in worker-members. Based on worldwide fieldwork, some indications that these qualitative components of cooperative employment tends to reinforce the economic sustainability of cooperatives were obtained.

The study also shows that worker members, considered as the third category of cooperative employment alongside employees (15 million) and self-employed producers (223 million), are already a significant portion of the total cooperative employment that directly concerns 250 million people in the world. It also calls for the development of multi stakeholder cooperatives, in which the staff is involved as one of the key stakeholders, like in the Mondragon group, in Italian social cooperatives, and in Quebec solidarity cooperatives, to mention a few emblematic cases.

“Considering the worsening situation of employment in the world, especially for the youth, governments cannot afford to look aside when the cooperative movement can offer a significant part of the solution”, concludes, Manuel Mariscal.

The full report is available here

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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