Logik & Co is a worker cooperative, founded in 2001, out of frustration with the traditional construction industry and the aspiration of some workers to do things differently. CECOP had the chance to sit down with Balder Johansen, the current manager at Logik & Co, who shared with us the story of the coop.
At the beginning, when the cooperative was established, they were among the first companies in Denmark to encourage sustainable renovation and construction of buildings. They had to invest considerably in informing their potential consumers of their philosophy. Fast-forward 20 years, and green sustainable buildings are challenging the norm, something that this coop crown’s itself with. They want to replace the use of chemicals, limit the waste of materials, and reduce the emission of C02, and this starts with building with good natural materials, locally sourced and green.
The inspiration to begin a cooperative came through the Christiania, a self-managed community established September 1971 in the heart of Copenhagen, where lots of cooperatives and small businesses flourish.
Logik & Co consists of 50-60 worker-members specialized in all the different aspects of the construction and renovations processes. They usually meet every week for the daily operations, once per month where they discuss on-going projects and economy, and they have an annual “workers meeting” where they discuss the strategic direction of the business and have representatives' elections. The cooperative is attentive to apply as much as possible an inclusive policy within the organization, that results in the employment of female workers, immigrant workers, and even disabled workers (when the typology of work allows it) .
Furthermore, Logik & Co also offers a lot of traineeships for students, who often, wish to stay in the cooperative at the end of their training. An element of pride for the cooperative, as it offers the opportunity to these trainees to take up a cooperative mindset and learn that things can be done differently than in a traditional building enterprise.
In this cooperative, all worker-members earn the same payment, whatever their position, or job and education background they have. The only difference are the trainees, who fall under a different legal regime, but Logik & Co also compensates trainees who come from further away and need to rent a place to stay. At the end, the main goal is to ensure that all workers are on an equal footing and feel at home in the cooperative.
As stated by Balder: “You can always get work if you are good with your hands, but you need to have a good company to have your back, as it is a dangerous profession”. And proudly, the cooperative has its workers’ back.
Joining or leaving Logik & Co is very easy. The coop has a flexible policy, and when there is not enough work (more likely in the winter months) the workers are sent home; and when there is a high demand, they can come back to work straight away. This policy is allowed by supportive state sponsored social welfare policies for unemployed – popularly named flexicurity –, which ensures mobility in employment, especially in the construction sector where the demand of work fluctuates considerably. Even if not employed, they are still members of the cooperative, and can come back as soon as there is work for them.
Nonetheless, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Logik & Co’s business has been booming, as most Danish people, constrained at home, have had the chance to invest in their properties and had the financial means to do so.
Logik & Co is currently only active in Copenhagen, where it is embedded in the neighborhood, with no plans of expanding to other cities. Staying local allows the coop to reduce its environmental impact by limiting the distance workers must cover every day in their work commute. The Coop give back to the society, and support social projects, through their knowledge and labor, as they aim to make their neighborhood and Copenhagen an environmentally and socially people friendly place.
Furthermore, the coop is fully invested in the community it belongs. Therefore, they organize plenty of local events in the neighborhoods such as social gatherings, festivals and meetings, where they are active, and really speak to, and support, the community, through involvement in local community houses and progressive grass root initiatives.
At the same time, the cooperative, active in the constant search of growth and improvement for itself and the cooperative movement, is also invested in learning and exchanging with other cooperatives from around Europe, hosting cooperators from abroad to work on short term projects or joining other cooperatives gathering in other countries.
Applauding the recent rise in new cooperatives in Denmark, Balder Johansen calls for the Danish government to ensure that setting up a cooperative is easy, and develop a specific law laying down the working of cooperatives would be deemed an asset to spur further cooperatives to be established and join the cooperative movement.
Logik & Co is paving the way showing that you can build green, together, and democratically!