15 November 2012

Lots going on in the worker co-operative world

I've not written a blog for ages due to the small matter of hosting the Global Co-operatives United event and getting The Worker Co-operative Code ready to be published tomorrow to coincides with Global Worker Cooperative Day. It's a busy time for worker co-operatives and it seems like there is lots going on. So here are few things you might be interested in and lets see how we can make ourselves an even more stronger network of co-operative businesses.

The worker co-op code, tools and resources
Want a copy? Co-operatives UK is printing 3000 copies of The Code so hopefully everyone working for a worker co-op member of ours should see a copy and be able to check how they are doing as a business and as co-operative. 

It can be found here: www.uk.coop/workercode but you can also fill in an on-line self assessment tool. In the future this tool will also suggest resources to help you improve your score. At the moment though this is empty, we have no resources! So if you have any resources to share with other worker co-operatives like: Member job descriptions or agreements, Induction material, pay and benefits policies, conflict resolution processes etc please send them to me so we can upload them to the website and build a shared bank of resources.

The previous version was translated into: Japanese, Korean, Maltese, Spanish, Swedish, so if anyone fancies translating this new version, please let me know.
Round table event at Co-operative Web Friday, 30th November.
If you are interested in learning best practice from other successful worker co-operatives, we are holding a small round table event from 11.00 till 13.00 in Birmingham for members of Co-operatives UK. 

Co-operative Web will present on their recent growth and how they incorporated new members into the business through a recent acquisition. Members will then have the opportunity to ask questions and more importantly share their own experience and best practice on the topic. This is a great opportunity to network, so if your interested in attending let me know

Research to find out demand for 'Co-operative Skills' training
Having trouble co-operating within your worker co-op? We're exploring different approaches to supporting our members in relation to improving: soft/inter-personal or you could say "co-operative skills". Such as: communication, decision-making, meeting together, dealing with conflict, group dynamics and so on. By filling in this survey you will help us find the evidence to propose better ways of delivering support and training to our members.

Worker co-op newsletter
Britta Werner, of Unicorn Grocery and Board member of Co-operatives UK wants to set-up a regular newsletter for worker co-operatives, so we can share information like: events, jobs, resources, good news stories. If you want to be on the mailing list, contribute or just have some good news to share email us.

Facebook Group
If your the facebook type, we have a group for worker co-operatives with over 60 members, join the conversation and see how you can benefit. I know most Unicorn Grocery and Essential Trading are recruiting at the moment.

Finally thoughts
There is loads going on in the worker co-operative world, and there is probably so much more I don't know about. The worker co-operative council at Co-operatives UK wrote and are trying to deliver on a plan to grow the worker co-op sector, but we need your help (it's really you helping yourself) The worker co-operative economy needs you!Oh and if your not a member of Co-operatives UK, why not, join us!

26 September 2012

The worker co-operative economy needs you!

I have not done a blog for far too long so apologies! The worker co-operative council of Co-operatives UK recently met and wanted to share with members some of their work and actions to grow the worker co-operative sector. They would like your input and more importantly action to help.

In case you don't know the Council meets four times a year and is made up of seven elected members from worker co-ops, and two other (currently and co-operative development adviser and a member of the woodcraft folk).

As well as practical things like attending events/networking, advocating for worker co-ops, helping update the Worker Co-operative Code, they also act as a sounding board for and set priorities in relation to worker co-operatives. Two of the Council members then represent worker co-operatives on our main Board of Director of Co-operatives UK.

At our last meeting members decided  to publish the below working document that sets out priorities and actions for the future to help grow the worker co-operative economy. They would like to invite you to a help suggest and achieve these actions.

The google doc version is here.

Finally here is a blatant plug for Co-operatives United a international festival of co-operatives taking place in Manchester on the 31 Oct to the 2 Nov. A great opportunity to mix with other worker co-operatives from the UK and around the world. Parts are free and parts are paid for so please do come if you can.

20 June 2012

New guide for setting up grass routes worker co-operative

It's been years in the making, Radical Routes a UK-wide network of radical housing and workers' co-operatives has updated their guide to starting and developing workers' co-operatives. 

I heavily promoted the last version, but in recent years, as with all guides it became out dated. The Seeds for Change collective with help from all over the movement (I know our own legal team helped with draft versions) has updated and expanded the guide, which is now three times bigger. It includes information on new kinds of co-operatives and legal structures and more information about finance, flat management structures and co-operative working methods.

Kayleigh Robertson, of the editorial collective, said “In the current economic climate more and more people are creating their own opportunities by setting up workers' co-ops. We really want to facilitate this and inspire a new generation of co-operators to create work without bosses.”
As more people are faced with the economic hardship and the inequity of modern corporate businesses, more are choosing to set-up or become part of co-operatively owned and controlled businesses.

At Co-operatives UK we are getting more enquires all the time about starting new  co-operative businesses and I'm sure our soon to be released state of the co-operative economy report will agree that our movement is thriving. 
The books are available to download free here and print versions are £4.50, with a special launch price of £3.50 at Futures North.

If you are thinking of setting up or want to find out about all types of co-operative businesses check out Co-opertives UK's website: www.uk.coop/start