21 June 2010

Worker Co-operative Council Election Results

Just to show life goes on regardless of Co-operatives Fortnight, we can now declare the Worker Co-operative Election Results!  I would like to Congratulate Bob Cannell and Sion Whellen's for being re-elected to the Council and Alison Banton for joining the Council for the first time.As usual the election was contested and the voting quite close.

WHELLENS, Sion         293         ELECTED
CANNELL, Bob            262         ELECTED
BANTON, Alison Joan   219         ELECTED
BRATCHER, Linda        203                   

I would also like to thank Kate Ormrod (Ecogenie) who stood down this year to concentrate on her worker co-operative; for her time on the Council and also the main Board of Co-operatives UK.  You have given a lot (particularly for braving the Co-operative Performance Committee on behalf of Worker Co-operatives) and will be missed.

The last meeting of the present Council will with at Co-operatives 2010.  If you want to know more about the worker co-operative council or get move involved in Co-operatives UK please contact me.

If you want to no more information on the successful candidates click here.

18 June 2010

Co-operative Fortnight Start Tomorrow!

Co-operatives Fortnight starts tomorrow, here is a round up of some of the things you can get innvolved in and what worker co-operatives are doing around the UK.

But first if you have not already watched our short film, asking people what this Co-operative thing is all about, here it is:

What worker co-operatives are up to:
18th - Co-operative Networking lunch, Hastings Wave Design
19th - Discounted Ethics Girls co-op membership Ethics Girls (honary worker co-op)
19th - Co-op day Daily Bread Co-operative Ltd
19th - Showing the co-op film On The Eighth Day Co-op
19th - Silent Film and Special Offers Unicorn Co-operative Grocery
21st - Welcome visitors to our framing yard Altham Oak and Carpentr
22nd - There is an alternative "co-op fortnight" at Eighth Day co-op Eighth Day Co-op
22nd - Co-operative GamesWave Design
23rd - Co-operative Coffee on the Green Roof Unicorn Co-operative Grocery
24th - Open day whomadeyourpants?
26th - Co-operative working to provide personalised support in the local commmunity Sunshine Care CIC
29th - Community Shares advice Baker Brown Associates
30th - Co-operative Question Time Unicorn Co-operative Grocery
1st - Open Day Suma
2nd - Co-operating on-screen Media Co-op
2nd - DecisionLab Present Sociocratic, Ecological and Economic Development (SEED)
3rd - The Cycle Coo! Cycle Training UK

Feel inpired?
Apart from running your own event event, add here or attending someone elses especially ours! www.congress.coop

There are loads of quick things you can do to help promote Co-operatives:

Click here to join us on Facebook
Click here to follow us on Twitter
Click here to add a #twibbon to your Twitter account

Ofcourse if your particuallry creative why not do a short youtube advert about your co-operative like Unicorn:

Most of all have fun!

14 June 2010

Worker Co-operatives and Football

I attended Supporters Direct Conference this weekend to find out more about this newer (Once you get past 150yrs everything is new) side of the Co-operative Movement .  Fantastic event with lots of people showing a real interest in democratic ownership models.

Speakers talked about: profit taking, short-termist, debt leaden and inevitably unsustainable ownership models. How football clubs need a model that is sustainable, balances the business and community needs and of course ... focuses on the football...

You could always go down the benefactor route and find someone with unlimited resources (Chelsea/Man City) but what happens if they lose interest, or their Children or other people taking over the business when they die don't share the same enthusiasm?  The general consensus seemed to be supporter owned co-operatives ticked a lot of the right boxes.

The most fascinating session was one discussing the Bundesliga in Germany where the majority of clubs are 50+1% owned by the supporters (found a blog on it here if your interested).  No club has gone into administration in the history of the league and average supporter turnout is 42,000; interestingly salary rates were also a lot lower nearer 40% of turnover compared to nearer 63% in the UK.

During the Conference Supporters Direct also launched a report investigating how football clubs can account for their social value, considered if and how different ownership structures, including supporter owned, can influence the social value. This was of course interesting, and helped the argument for more supporters trusts but that's not the reason I'm mentioning it. The reason is; the paper was written by Dr Adam Brown from Substance (a worker co-operative).

Which brings me back to worker co-operatives. Delegates were very interested in the idea of getting involved in democratic ownership in their social and spare time, but what about at work? How many people thought they they could own and have a real say in their work-place. Creating sustainable businesses with the aim of providing good quality employment for its members, not maximising shareholder return? Thinking about worker co-operatives?

I'm sure there were a few; but I spoke to Paul Jones (Co-operatives UK helped incorporate the business); is setting up football co-operatives in Ghana, Kenya and Iberia.  The first co-operatives Keta Sandlanders FC is a supporter owned club (which is looking for international supporters if your interested). Focusing on the football, community development, but also employment & worker co-operatives. There is the problem of what happens to the team members when the season finishes, what do they do for the rest of the year?

Setting up worker co-operatives can be part of this answer and a way to add value to other community development activities. I wish Paul all the best with the idea of linking Football Club's to wider community development and for looking at the worker co-operative option.

I hope this renewed interested in democratic management and community ownership in peoples social time, can impact peoples thinking about their work time as well..