The International Labour Organisation’s Cooperative Unit – ILO COOP – turns 100 this year. To mark its anniversary on 23 March, the unit will host a celebratory event at its library in Geneva, featuring speakers from the government, workers’ and employers’ organisations, cooperative institutions and academia. A series of reports highlighting cooperative innovations in the platform economy and in responding to the refugee crisis will also be launched at the event.
In addition to the celebratory event, the ILO will also be conducting interviews with key figures from the organisation’s past and present, who have engaged with its work on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy. More information about the events planned for the anniversary is available here.
How was ILO COOP set up?
The proposal to establish the unit, which was adopted unanimously, was put forward in 1920 by Albert Thomas, the ILO’s first director, who came from the French cooperative movement.“The Peace Treaty requires that the International Labour Office should not only concern itself with conditions of work, but also with the condition of the workers. It is in the form of co-operation that this idea is best seen in popular circles,” read his proposal.
Photo: a picture from the first ILO COOP meeting 100 years ago (c) ILO