Speaking at the Co-operative College’s annual conference in Manchester, Ariel Guarco, president of the International Co-operative Alliance, looked at how the movement might take advantage of the opportunities brought by new technology while staying faithful to its community roots.
Giving the example of the worker co-ops that emerged in Argentina after the 2001 crisis, Mr Guarco pointed out that adopting the co-operative business model would require specific training around the working conditions in a co-op organisation and participatory management models.
He believes that co-operatives, as distinct enterprises with different objectives, require adequate education and support in this area.
“The organisation of the work of a company that seeks to maximise the benefit cannot be the same as that of a co-operative that seeks to optimise the working conditions of its members according to what is collectively agreed,” he said.
He added that the workers must be able to participate in the management of the co-operative in all its dimensions. “Participation is not only a problem of will – you must know how to do it,” he said. This includes the training of the associate members on the issues to be decided and having adequate indicators, which will not be those of a capitalist company, because the objectives of co-ops are different.
Source: COOP NEWS