Worker cooperatives are enterprises subject to the same restrictions of competition, management and profitability as other companies. Their originality lies in the fact that their workers hold the majority of the shares, at least 51%. In doing so, the workers decide jointly on the major guidelines of their enterprises and appoint their leaders (managers, boards of directors, etc.).
They also decide on how to share the profit with a two fold aim: to give the preference to the workers of the enterprises, in the form of refunds based on the work done and to consolidate the enterprises with a view to handing it over onto the future generations, e.g. by creating reserves to reinforce the long-term sustainability of their enterprises.
In all cooperatives, the internal democratic control is based on the principle of “one person, one vote” whatever the capital share held by the individual members; in the case of worker cooperatives, these members are the workers. Finally, the cooperative spirit promotes its employees information and training, a prerequisite to develop the autonomy, the motivation and responsibility, accountability required in an economic world which has become insecure.
World Declaration on Worker Cooperatives
Approved by the General Assembly of the International Cooperative Alliance held in Cartagena, Colombia, on 23 September 2005
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