The International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives (Cicopa) has released a set of policy recommendations to further co-operative development.
The guidelines are grounded in the Recommendation 193 of the International Labour Organisation and refer to three aspects of co-operative development: legal framework, business transfer to employees and enterprise grouping.
With regard to the legal framework, the recommendations mention that when introducing new laws for worker co-operatives, public authorities should take into account the World Declaration on Worker Co-operatives. The recommendations encourage policy makers to take into consideration the World Standards of Social Co-operatives approved by CICOPA General Assembly in Cancun in 2011.
The recommendations also advocate for legal provisions instituting fully de-taxed indivisible reserves as well as for accompanying mechanisms in employee-owned companies such as non-distribution of co-operative returns or the revaluation of members’ shares.
Cicopa also makes a case for worker co-operatives to meet the criteria of decent work, required by the ILO Recommendation 193 on the Promotion of Cooperatives.
Cicopa's recommendations also stipulate that national legislation should make it compulsory for all co-ops to dedicate a percentage of their turnover to help to establish new co-operatives.
Furthermore, Cicopa encourages states to promote the business transfer to employees when this might lead to saving jobs, economic activities or local skills from disappearing and adds that trade unions should be involved in assessing the feasibility of transformation into a co-operative. It adds that bankruptcy training for concerned professionals and a better understanding of how co-ops work is essential.
Cicopa’s recommendations also state that employees should be given preferential rights to make sure they have the best conditions to develop a takeover bid.
Cicopa’s recommendations read: “Inter-small and medium enterprises international collaborative networks under the co-operative form should also be encouraged, specifically in strategic sectors”.
The organisation also encourages the creation of mutualised business support institutions and of international funds for support and promotion of collaboration among co-ops from different countries.
Join the Conversation