The global E-magazine on cooperatives in industry and services
The jobs consolidation in the "Sociedades Laborales" (SAL) in Spain has been made reality thanks to the fact it is a worker-owned enterprise. "If four people join together to create a company and own it, then they will do their very best to survive in any economic environment," said Jose Luis Núñez, spokesperson for the Confederation of Employers and Industrial Societies Spain (Confesal). In addition, the Spanish SAL law restricts the hiring of temporary employees. So to stay as SAL they must meet a minimum number of permanently contracted working partners. "This ensures that industrial societies are creating stable employment", said Núñez.
The SAL governance model scheme is similar to a traditional company with the difference that the majority of the Board of Directors is composed of working members (at least two-thirds). The SAL sector is integrated in Spain for about 17.000 companies and 100.000 workers, according to data available from 2010. In addition, these companies recorded a turnover of 16.000 million Euros in the last fiscal year.
The Galician SAL “Nor Rubber” engaged in the manufacture of rubber products is a clear example. In 2001, following the collapse of GESRUBBER, Inc. the new company was created, "with a small portfolio of clients, with little funding but with a good product and a huge desire to move forward with this project from 133 workers who were looking to secure their jobs", says the company Board of Directors president, José Manuel Quintana.
After ten years of existence, they are clear about it, if they had not been a SAL, the adverse circumstances would have been solved in another way: "We should have gone to external financing, which could have led to a more complex situation. Surely we would have suffered more and the workforce would not be so involved in the management and progress of the company".
Zuray Andrea Melgarejo, a professor at the National University of Colombia and a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Navarra, performed the first comparative study between the SAL and the traditional companies in Navarra region (North of Spain). The study concluded that SAL are in a favourably competitive position compared to other commercial companies: "This business formula creates a job different from other small and medium enterprises characterized, among other factors, by a balance between sustainability, solidarity and adaptability to new markets, more likely to generate permanent employment and legal flexibility as well as flexibility for salaries" the study written by Professor Melgarejo concludes.
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