21 April 2011

Worker Co-operative Council Elections 2011

Voting is now open for the Worker Co-operative Council Elections! All worker co-operative members of Co-operatives UK were sent Ballot Papers on the 20 April 2011 and should receive this in the next week. This should include a list of nominees, biographical details and a Ballot paper.  These people will represent your views and help guide Co-operatives UK's strategy from the point of view of worker co-operatives.

The closing date for receipt of ballot papers is 27th May 2011 and the Elections result declared 3rd June 2011. The four successfull candidates will be invited to the next Worker Co-operative Council meeting taking place at Congress 2011 why not come and join them.

The nominees are:

Britta Werner - Unicorn GroceryI have been working at Unicorn Grocery, a retail workers co-operative in Manchester, for over 6 years. I am the company’s secretary and also part of the Personnel Team and currently studying for an MSc in Human Resource Management.

I became involved in the Worker Co-op Council 4 years ago and through this I am on the board of Co-operative and Community Finance.

I feel that my knowledge of HR can be helpful to the council as well as my enthusiasm for co-operatives. Unicorn Grocery is a successful co-operative and because of this, I have constant contact with different co-operatives who are getting in touch with us. Therefore I feel I have got good skills and abilities to contribute to the council.  Having served on the council for the last four years has given me a good insight into the co-operative movement from many different aspects.

Edward Russell – Co-operative Web
Hi, I'm Ed and am a geek who is part of the technology focused worker co-op "Co-operative Web" based in Birmingham.  I've been a member of the council for the past two years over which time we've grown Co-op Web quite substantially to now be 21 workers and have experienced a lot of the trials and tests that brings!  I'm also a director of Co-operative Futures and a member of Co-operatives WM. 

I've worked hard to try and bring the message of co-operation to more people through many talks and seminars including the recent series of Co-ops UK events for creative co-operatives.  I'm very passionate about spreading the message and how technology can play a part in this.

I would like to have another term on the council as I feel that I've only just started to understand how to make a difference and feel that I've a lot to contribute about small and growing worker co-ops.

Richard Crook – Essential Trading Co-operative

I have been a member of Essential Trading Co-operative for 10 years, covering a range of responsibilities on my way to my current role in our accounts team and as co-operative treasurer.  My experience of being a member of a worker co-op has convinced me that this is a truly alternative and democratic way to organise a business away from conventional hierarchical structures.  I feel that it is important for worker cooperatives to have representation within Co-operatives UK, to continue to promote the positive aspects they bring to the co-operative movement.

Essential Trading Co-operative is a Natural and Organic Food Wholesaler and Retailer - one of the largest worker co-operatives in the UK with over 80 members.  It was formed through the merger of two co-operatives; Harvest and Nova in 1991. The origins of those co-operatives can be traced back to 1971.

Steven Glynn – Sustainable Change CooperativeI am a partner at Sustainable Change Cooperative which works with organisations to develop a clearer understanding of what sustainability means for them, and take practical action based on this understanding.  See our website, www.sustainable-change.co.uk, for more details on what we do. As a newcomer to the cooperative movement – we have been a cooperative for a year – I have a lot to learn, but also believe I have a lot to offer. I see developing the cooperative movement as critical part of moving towards an economy and society that allows people and the environment to flourish. At the same time it is essential that cooperatives themselves embrace the sustainability agenda and exploring cooperatively how best to do this would be a central aim of mine if elected to the Council.

M J Ray – Turo Technology LLP
MJ is both passionate about and experienced in co-operation. 2012, the UN's year of co-ops, is a great opportunity to spread the co-operative message wider and to build support both between co-ops and with their national body.  MJ is working to equip members with the resources they want, under permissive terms of use, to facilitate their business, campaigning and outreach.  'Dog helps Dog' and 'Co-operation in the Age of Google' are helpful starting points to build upon.

MJ has worked for software.coop since it was formed 9 years ago and served on the Co-operatives SW steering group 2006-2010.  Having also experienced work in public and private sectors, MJ fully appreciates the social, democratic and ethical co-operative difference.  Your support will help MJ achieve his aims of bringing UK members together and taking the worker cooperative message to a wider audience.  Thank you.

Athene Ellana Richford – GreenCity Wholefoods
I came to GreenCity as a recent graduate having always admired and been cognisant of the co-operative movement.  I am passionate about the role that cooperatives, and especially worker coops, can play in demonstrating to our wider societies that it is possible to have truly accountable businesses which, whilst profitable do not compromise their ethics regarding workers and customers.  I strongly believe that cooperatives are representative of humanity at its best; giving workers autonomy over their means of production; providing community and a responsible way of working.  In short, I regard cooperatives as the humanisation of capitalism.  I would relish the opportunity to work with other worker coop members and broaden my knowledge of worker cooperatives and the wider movement.  I hope that such an engagement from me would foster my growth as a worker, an individual and also that of GreenCity.

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