10 April 2012

Worker Co-operative Council Elections 2012

Voting is now open for the Worker Co-operative Council Elections! All worker co-operative members of Co-operatives UK have been sent Ballot Papers and should now have received them. Below is copy of the biographical details of the members standing for election.

These people will represent your views and help guide Co-operatives UK's strategy from the point of view of worker co-operatives. The three successful candidates will be invited to our AGM on the 25th April and will be appointed to the Worker Co-operative Council, why not come and join them.

The nominees are:

Sion Whellens – Calverts North Star Press Ltd.
Sion Whellens is a member of the communications co-operative, Calverts. He has been a member of worker, housing and consumer co-operatives since 1982. He founded the Principle Six co-operative business referral network, and has served on both the WCC and the board of Co-operatives UK (2006-2011), where he chaired the Appointments and Remuneration committee. He is vice chair of Co-operatives London.

Sion believes that the priorities for the WCC over the coming years should be:
  • To continue to develop profitable political and business networks between worker co-ops, the wider movement and with radical new social and economic currents
  • To help develop new types of co-operative business, with innovative stakeholding models which enfranchise more working class people
  • To contribute to a Co-operatives UK led campaign to raise the profile and confidence of the movement, and greatly increase public awareness of and approval for co-operation as a distinct ‘social business brand’
Steve Dixon – Anglia Home Furnishings Holdings Ltd.
I have 15 years experience in Risk Management, Internal Audit and Corporate Compliance, six of which have been spend in the co-operative and social enterprise sector.

I am currently one of three partners at the Big Fish Partnership where I advise Boards in the corporate governance aspects of company formation, having written company constitutions and corporate governance codes.

One of my clients includes a large employee co-operative where I focused on increasing employee engagement and promoting the benefits of the co-operative model with the membership.

Away from work, I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the gym, reading and socialising with friends. I am also a school governor at a local primary school.

If elected to this position, I would like to use my skills and experience to support member organisations and promote the employee co-operative sector and the benefits that organisations can achieve through this structure.

Lyn Hope – Midshires Clothing
My involvement with Co-operatives started 15 years ago with Queen Eleanor, a Co-op Workwear manufacturer in Kettering. Hit by competitor’s cheap imports, the factory closed, leaving a highly skilled workforce, with no jobs left in the industry.

Not to be beaten, we set up our own Worker Co-operative to provide employment for clothing workers. As well as being Age Positive we aim to pass our unique skills on to future generations via apprenticeship schemes.

I believe that Co-operatives like ours are the way forward to rebuilding the British economy, but it is about so much more than that; It’s about preserving skills and valuing the people who have them.

I would relish the chance to work with other Co-operators and find a way to encourage the set up of more Co-operatives as a way to get people working again.

Bob Cannell – Suma (Traingle Wholefoods)

Bob is an experienced activist with 30 years membership of Suma, several in the Worker Coop Council and on the board of CoopsUK. Bob is a European (CECOP) and World (CICOPA) delegate to worker co-op federations.

He promotes worker ownership in business schools and is a well known source of  advice  for worker co-ops. Bob helped write the Cooperatives UK Worker Cooperative Code of Governance

“I continue to fight for recognition and support for worker co-ops wherever. I recently helped CoopsUK amend the cooperative development training standards to recognise the importance of cooperative working skills in worker co-ops.”

“If re-elected I will continue to ensure CoopsUK and our European and World federations serve us well. I’m optimistic for worker ownership but we need to push the idea and improve our game so we are good examples of democratic enterprise.”

Alison Banton – Dulas Ltd.
It’s taken some time to get to grips with the workings of Co-ops UK and the worker co-op council (on top of the day job) and I would relish another two years in order to follow through on the key strategies we recently identified, especially in our focus on young people. Liaising with the Woodcraft Folk and other worker co ops is truly inspiring stuff.

I’m the Senior Management Accountant/ Company Secretary at Dulas Ltd and we’ve grown into one of the country’s leading renewable energy specialists. The past two years we have undertaken significant changes to our organisation in terms of Corporate Governance, Pay & Reward, Management Structure and even geography- we now have a Scottish Office but have retained 100% (equal) employee ownership and that’s by no means a small achievement. There’s a lot we would love to share and as ever show folk that co-ops rock!

Christopher Robert Tomlinson – Birmingham Bike Foundry
Five years ago I moved to Birmingham and founded a fully mutual housing co-operative with friends called Gung Ho, where I now live. Two years ago I set up Birmingham Bike Foundry –a workers' co-op with four directors. I have been a full time bike mechanic, bike maintenance and cycling trainer since then. Both co-ops are members of Radical Routes.

Within RR I am a core member of publicity group and the Trading Co-ops working group which encourages and supports the establishment of new worker co-ops.

Since I left education I have been working towards developing the co-operative commonweal. I believe that democratic, non-hierarchical employment and ownership of assets has many advantages for co-operative employees and tenants.

I believe in a post-capitalist society run along fairer and saner lines and this is something that I am actively working towards. I believe that this society could be effectively organised by councils of co-operatives.

If your co-operative has not received ballot papers and you wish to vote please contact us. All ballot papers must be received by 15th May 2012