Chile used to be one of the most important areas of development for worker cooperatives, exceeding three thousand companies. During the brutal repression of the dictatorship and decades of neoliberalism, these companies had virtually been destroyed. The worker cooperative movement in the Americas is now taking the first steps to support cooperatives in this country, with the promotion of worker ownership in countries where there is no more collaboration in its wake or where collaboration is very weak; it is one of the major objectives that have been proposed in the integrated CICOPA Americas entities.
Gabriel Isola, CICOPA-Mercosur
Thus, on 15 May, delegations of the Confederación de Cooperativas de Trabajo, (Confederation of worker cooperatives), CNCT in Argentina and the Federación de Cooperativas de Trabajo de Uruguay, (Federation of worker cooperatives in Uruguay) FCPU, participated in the international meeting: "Cooperatives embrace in Maipú”, a commune of the Santiago region. The representatives of the region could come into contact with several new initiatives, which were added to the more established industry benchmarks, concentrated in FECOT history, la Federación de Empresas, Cooperativas y Talleres de Trabajadores, Artesanales y Asociados, (the Federation of Enterprises, Cooperatives and workers’ workshops, artisans and associates). This is about new types of cooperatives, especially in sectors related to municipal services, but also in cutting-edge youth initiatives in areas of greater technological challenge, such as ICT and renewable energy.
It is an auspicious time, as with the return of President Bachelet at La Moneda Palace, a private public council which was established for the development of social and cooperative economy, which has laid the foundation for a program of cooperative promotion nationwide, where worker cooperatives are a major focus point. Fresh air coming from the Andes accompany the efforts that the rest of the Americas unions have pledged to make. Surely in the coming months there will be new news to spread beyond the mountain range.
Prymave, a cooperative that maintains the greenery of Maipú
The worker cooperative for protection and maintenance of green areas, Prymave consists of 116 gardeners from Maipú who are employees and co-owners. Most of these were part of the civil service of the municipality of Maipú, maintaing the green areas, until in 2010 the municipalities began outsourcing.
The workers did not want to end up as contractors because they were convinced they would be paid the minimum wage. Faced with this situation they set up a cooperative. They now look after 480,000 square meters of green area in Maipú and they work with other municipalities, companies, and provide landscaping for residences. In almost 5 years it was transformed into a cooperative with a turnover of approximately 1.3 million dollars.
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