The European Parliament has passed a resolution that recognises the important role played by co-ops in the social economy.
Adopted on 19 January, the EP Resolution on a European Pillar of Social Rights states that co-operatives, together with other social economy enterprises, “provide a good example in terms of creating quality employment, supporting social inclusion and promoting a participatory economy”.
Prior to the passing of the resolution, CECOP, the European Confederation of co-operatives in industry and services, had called for the inclusion of co-operatives and the wider social economy as a third component of the EU Pillar of Social Rights.
Giuseppe Guerini, president of CECOP, had previously said: “The Pillar should support start-up and scale-up initiatives in co-operatives and the wider social economy in a logic of local and regional development.”
Arguing this should be a “key priority”, he added: “Co-operatives can be seen as a model of reference.
“For co-operatives, flexibility means adapting to the situation on the demand side, but without altering wage conditions so the social rights of workers continue to be guaranteed, without layoffs, and with the involvement of the persons who form the co-operative.
“On the basis of this experience, we believe that flexible work, in the terms in which we understand it, can be conducive to promoting social Europe.”
CECOP also welcomed the Parliament’s call for adequate measures to ensure access for all to good quality and affordable social and other services. The Parliament’s resolution points to the important role played by social economy enterprises in providing these services and making the labour market more inclusive.
But CECOP says the European Parliament should have gone further by committing to end austerity policies which will make the Pillar less effective by fostering inequality and limiting social policies.
The confederation believes the Parliament should also have acknowledged the growth of the informal economy across Europe.
The resolution suggests having tools and a framework directive on decent working conditions in all forms of employment, and extending existing minimum standards to new kinds of employment.
CECOP welcomed this but warns it does not place a strong emphasis on prevention measures, and was also critical of suggestions the Pillar be limited to the eurozone rather than the whole of the EU.
“We do not understand the grounds on which it should be limited to the Eurozone, which focuses on monetary union,” reads a statement on CECOP’s website.