The Worker Co-operative Code has been revamped for 2012 and was released today to commemorate Global Worker Co-op Day.
The code was originally published by Co-operatives UK in 2006 to help employee-owned businesses run well, by providing a guide to governance and management based on the co-op principles. It has since been translated into over five different languages and has been used across the world.
The code has been updated to include more explanation about governance and management structures and some of the guidelines have been improved based on feedback. It was compiled with the help of worker co-operatives, such as Unicorn Grocery and Suma.
Britta Werner, worker owner at Unicorn Grocery and a director of Co-operatives UK said: “The worker code by Co-operatives UK is a great tool and measure for running a successful co-operative. Co-operatives aim to make a profit like any other business but want to do this in a more ethical and sustainable way, and the code is an easy 'how to' guide.”
John Atherton, Membership Officer at Co-operatives UK, said: “This code will reach out to a new generation of worker co-operative members, and acts as a reference guide: what they should expect from and what they should aspire to achieve within their worker co-operatives.
“We have incorporated feedback obtained over the last four years of practical use into the code to make it even better than the original.”
Every member of a worker co-op will receive their copy of the code and can access it online at www.uk.coop/workercode. Members are also invited to take an online self-assessment, and contribute to a worker co-operative resource bank.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK said: “I invite worker co-operatives to use the worker code as a health check and guide which they can share with their members and use develop their management and governance.”
The code includes examples of worker co-ops from around the world from 7,000 networked co-operatives in Emilia Romagna in Italy to the Mondragon worker co-operatives, that are now the 7th largest business group in Spain.
Unlike some other countries around the world, the UK does not have any special co-operative legislation, so worker co-ops can use any legal form, including companies, societies and partnerships.