By Hyungsik Eum
“All for One – Response of worker-owned cooperatives to non-standard employment”, a new report produced by CECOP sets out to show the contributions made by cooperatives to the issues related to non-standard employment, such as precariousness, low income, insufficient social security coverage and workers’ isolation.
The report adopts an approach based on the concept of decent work deficits in order to identify specific problematic situations to which worker-owned cooperatives have been responding over the time.
However, this report focuses particularly on independent workers (also called freelancers) whose situations are not covered sufficiently by political and institutional debates on non-standard employment.
As the examples from Belgium, Finland, France and Spain illustrate, cooperatives have been a laboratory for experimentation on innovative and sustainable forms of work and employment, providing a response to the needs of workers in non-standard employment situations, as well as their aspirations for creating a working community of the 21st century.
The cooperative laboratory for new forms of work and employment suggests several possible scenarios which might allow us to embrace the Present and the Future of Work. We invite you to discover them, as well as policy recommendations we are addressing to EU and national authorities.
Author of the report is Hyungsik Eum. In his foreword Diana Dovgan Secretary General of CECOP writes “If standard employment, which used to be the norm in Europe, refers to full-time employed persons with a permanent contract, non-standard employment is defined in contrast to it.
Notwithstanding the few advantages for workers explicitly striving for more autonomy and flexibility, non-standard employment raises several concerns: the ever-lowering labour rights and conditions, endangered decent income, and access to social rights and collective representation. Moreover, it jeopardises the progress achieved in 150 years of hard fought social struggle for decent working conditions and rights.
Since the industrial revolution, cooperatives, and more precisely worker-owned cooperatives, provide answers to people looking to guarantee and secure their work and employment.
Many of today’s challenges raised by non-standard employment have motivated workers to use the cooperative solutions to provide answers to needs that are unmet by the current legal frameworks and public policies. This way, they are able to ensure more quality, security and dignity in their work lives. This publication looks at the “cooperative laboratory” and tries to understand new cooperative models across Europe who react to the adverse effects of nonstandard employment.”