Worker Cooperatives to be reformed in Colombia

On April 20, 2005 the Colombian Ministry of Social Protection sent to the Congress bill No. 260-2005, which would regulate the activity of Associated Work Cooperatives (known by the Spanish acronym CTA).

24 May 2005

This bill prohibits worker cooperatives from exercising any type of labor mediation. It states that less than three percent of the workers of an Associated Work Cooperative can be non-members, and that only cooperative members can be directors.

In addition, this bill obligates cooperatives to make their associated members partake in social security and to create a solidarity fund for this purpose.

The Colombian Cooperatives Association (ASCOOP) has criticized the bill, pointing out that it demonstrates that the government is seeking an essentially regulatory bill, aimed mostly at strengthening its ability to control, inspect and monitor, as well as increase fines.

The government argues that there are businesses that are posing legally as Associated Work Cooperatives to undertake labor mediation. ASCOOP has responded that it is helpful that the State seek to ensure that those organizations that call themselves worker cooperatives are indeed just that, but that is it alarming that the proposed law makes no distinction between legitimate and false cooperatives.

The Colombian Cooperative Confederation (CONFECOOP) has called upon the legislature and the government to have the legislature work on approval of a more harmonious bill related to worker cooperatives that would guarantee the protection and promotion of their legal status, in keeping with criteria recognized internationally by CICOPA.

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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