Many workers’ cooperatives are struggling to stay afloat and need increased public support, said experts gathered at the 2011 International Forum on the Social and Solidarity Economy in Montreal.
“By their own means they are surviving, without the support of the government,” Federico Luis Pöhls Fuentevilla, executive director of the Consejo Mexicano de Empresas de la Economía Solidaria, said in an interview with IPS.
“It is active resistance,” he added.
As opposed to the traditional private sector model, the U.N. defines cooperatives as “business enterprises owned and controlled by the very members that they serve”.
The International Cooperative Alliance, which represents nearly a billion people in 96 countries, says cooperatives are currently focused in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, consumer and financial services, housing, and production, but the group hopes this will expand to many other sectors, such as schools, utilities and transport, to name a few.