ILO COOP prepares for centenary anniversary

Celebrations include an event in Geneva on 23 March and interviews with key figures from the organisation

The Cooperatives Unit of the International Labour Organization, ILO COOP, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020.

To mark the milestone, the unit is organising an event on 23 March at the ILO library in Geneva, featuring speakers from government, workers’ and employers’ organisations, co-operative institutions and academia. They will explore the history as well as the future of co-operatives, and the growing interest in the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

The unit is also conducting a series of interviews with past and present ILO colleagues and key partners. In the first interview in the series, Jürgen von Muralt, the first director of the ILO’s Enterprises Department, shares his experience and his view on the role of co-operatives in the future of work.

The ILO has also developed a co-operative timeline, which highlights key events in the history of its own work on co-operatives and of the international co-operative movement.

The ILO’s co-operatives unit was set up in 1920 under the proposal of the then ILO director general, Albert Thomas, a French co-operator who believed the ILO had to concern itself not only with conditions of work, but also with the condition of the workers. 

His proposal was adopted unanimously during the third session of ILO governing body in London on 23 March 1920.