International co-op round-up

THE Irish wind farm co-op Meithal na Gaoithe has staged a demonstration to protest at the Government&#039s failure to award contracts to community-led developments. Natural Resources Minister Dermot...

THE Irish wind farm co-op Meithal na Gaoithe has staged a demonstration to protest at the Government&#039s failure to award contracts to community-led developments.
Natural Resources Minister Dermot Ahern recently announced the signing of 48 contracts under the Alternative Energy programme. None of the contracts went to small-scale community-led developments.
Thomas Cook, chairman of Meithal na Gaoithe, said: "Our projects are now dead in the water. We calculated, at a very conservative estimate, that about ?3m has now been spent by small-scale developers in bringing their projects to this stage and that is at risk now."
? Irish Examiner

Cleaners carpeted

Social Policy Minister Lawrence Gonzi says it is time to crackdown on co-operatives that do not stick to their obligations, making particular reference to the Public Cleaners&#039 Co-operative (Kip).
Dr Gonzi said: "We have given the co-operatives autonomy, but we must make sure that anyone who breaches legislation, especially in regard to the rights of members, will face legal action."
His thoughts were echoed by Co-operative Board Chairman Godfrey Baldacchino, who said: "There is, in my opinion, a lack of observing co-operative members&#039 rights. The board receives frequent complaints about wrongful procedure, not enough information, lack of meetings, audited accounts and other things."
He said a case in point was Kip. "The members have requested an extraordinary meeting to discuss a specific point. However, the cooperative refused to call it and despite our telling them that they were obliged to convene the meeting, there have been no developments."
However, both agreed that there had been success stories among cooperatives. "Today there are just over 100 cooperatives with 4,950 members," said Dr Gonzi.
? Malta Independent

Staff wages rising

THE 125-employee Brattleboro Food Co-op, current target of a union drive, will raise wages to a "liveable" minimum of $9.47 (&#163 6) an hour starting this fall.
Staff at the supermarket are deciding whether to be the first Vermonters to join the United Food and Commercial Workers union. But Brattleboro store managers say the raises aren&#039t tied to employee organising efforts, but instead cap an almost year-long liveable-wage study.
"Some may want to interpret this as a reaction to the union, but we&#039ve been working on it for some time," Richard Ernst, assistant store manager, said Thursday.

? Rutland Herald, Vermont, US

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