09 June 2009

ECC Election Results

Who cares about the Council and European Elections. The Employee Co-operative Council results are in. Britta Wermer (Unicorn) & Babs McGregor (Green City) have been re-elected. There are also two new faces, Ed Russell of Co-operative Web and Dan Harris from Oxford Cycle Workshop. The new members will join at the first meeting after Congress and will stand for two years as your represenatives at Co-operativesUK.

GORECKI, Nik 136
SCHWARZ, Paul 52

No we haven't had a massive jump in membership. Co-operativesUK represents 170 Worker and Employeee Owned Co-operatives. As a secondary co-operative votes are weighted by the economic participation of a member.

Thanks to all members that took part in the elections half of whom voted using our new online system.

If you have any priorities or issues you would like to pass onto the ECC for their consideration, please contact me.

05 June 2009

Member Visit: Infinity Foods

Founded in 1971, Infinity has grown from a student run Cafe to a £14m turnover business owned and controlled by its worker members. Infinity Food is spread over 3 business locations in Brighton. A shop & bakery selling wholefoods and ethical lifestyle products, a cafe and a large wholesale and distribution operation.

The 3 parts of the business are relatively autonomous with their own member meetings to decide on operational issues. Representatives from each part of the business are elected by members to sit on a co-operative wide management committee to look at legal and strategic issues. Infinity has 70+ members and operates a broadly equal pay, and profits distribution model within each business, similar to a lot of worker co-operatives. Infinity used to be a member of ICOM and has a strong common ownership and co-operative ethos.

Steven Kay and I visited to find out how they measure commercial, co-operative, environmental and social performance. We are looking to improve and standardise measures across worker co-operatives to facilitate benchmarking and sharing of good practice.

As an example Infinity source all their electricity from good energy and disperse some of their profits to member chosen good causes.