The United Nations’ International Labour Organisation is calling for papers on the relationship between trade unions and co-operatives.
In a statement released by the ILO, they explain: “The trade union and co-operative movements share a parallel history having emerged at the beginning of the industrial era… Yet the relationship while often complementary has not been without its challenges.”
The ILO explains how during the current financial crisis there has been a “renewed interest in co-operatives” and they are interested in contributions documenting developments that have arisen in these areas in recent years.
People can submit papers covering a number of different questions, which the ILO has laid out.
• Despite resilience, the statement explains, worker co-ops “generally remain marginal economic players, what are the obstacles that stand in the way… and how can trade unions help with it?”
• Worker co-ops are often set up in response to closures and/or delocalisations, “what has been the role of trade unions in facilitating the creation of such co-ops?” the ILO adds.
• Another topic covers the emergence of “social economy” enterprises, which are sometimes perceived by trade unions as a setback from the provision of such services by the public sector. The report says: “What assessment can be made of social economy from a trade union point of view? Can the social economy provide a viable partner in the provision of social services and decent work?”
• It also asks whether co-ops of self-employed workers have been successful and sustainable? And what are their conditions of success?
• The final topic looks at: “what are successful models of cohabitation between trade unions and worker cooperatives and what can they teach us?”
The ILO explains: “The papers would ideally show how trade unions have been using the cooperative model and working with the cooperative movement to achieve economic, social and political objectives.”
Papers should be no more than 7,000 words, excluding tables and references. Proposals will be received until February 2, 2013. Authors of the papers selected will be invited to present them at a workshop to be held in Geneva in May 2013 for eventual publication in the fall of 2013.
For more information read the statement attached below.