Technological changes, the knowledge economy, big data and relocation are some of the factors that are having rapid impact on the world of work, where we still have other matters to address, such as wage inequality between women and men and, what is most serious, slave labour, which oppresses people of all genders and ages in different parts of the planet.
Co-ops offer another paradigm, where inclusion, participation and growth go hand in hand. We know that around 10% of the world’s employed population does it within this type of organisation. It’s an encouraging but insufficient fact.
Societies increasingly need resilient companies that are able to innovate without getting rid of people, that can get through financial crises without disappearing, that can create sources of work for young people and adults, disabled people, men and women, for whom they will offer equal remuneration for equal work.
Finally, in a scenario of the growing penetration of information and communication technologies, we must learn to use these tools to further democratise work, unlike other trends that are implementing them to deregulate labour relations and diminish job insecurity.
Our co-op platforms cannot just minimise transaction costs between an individual producer and an individual consumer. They must ensure that the working conditions of that producer are those that he or she has decided in participation with the group of members of the network and to ensure the consumer a fair price for a quality product.
Without fearing technological advances, let’s defend our cooperative model, with its principles, values and 174 years of history in creating decent work for all people.