Recently Co-operatives UK received a request from the Japanese Embassy in London to help them with research into worker co-operatives. The Japanese Government is looking to update their co-operative legislation and were interested in the situation in the UK. How we promote and develop worker co-operatives and what the barriers for growing and developing the movement are.
Co-operatives UK quite regularly gets international enquiries and we do our best to support co-operatives in other countries whenever we can. I therefore organised a visit to Co-operatives UK and Suma for the First Secretary (Economic Section) a Mr Ishizu that took place yesterday.
Mr Ishizu was fascinated with Suma's business structure; especially their lack of executive management.
Suma deals with this by treating management as a function (not status) and different aspects of management are dealt with by different people on behalf of the Co-operative. All members of Suma are paid equally and all have an equal responsibility for the management and performance of the business.