A worker cooperative is an organisation of workers who democratically control and collectively own the business they work in. Those workers are the co-op’s members. Worker co-ops around the world run small and large enterprises, and operate in most sectors of the economy. They may have two members, or tens of thousands of members.
Whatever their of trade or activity, all worker co-ops exist to provide the best possible conditions of work, so as to improve the lives of workers and their communities.
Worker co-ops in the UK use various legal forms, and come in different shapes and sizes. There are roughly 400 worker co-ops in the country, with a combined turnover of £13.2 billion.
The World Declaration on Worker Cooperatives says: “among the modalities of worker ownership, the one organised through worker cooperatives has attained the highest level of development and importance at present in the world, and is structured on the basis of the universal cooperative principles, values and operational methods.”
The Worker Co-op Code is a short guide to help people create and defend decent jobs, with a culture of equality and respect at work, so that people can benefit fairly from their labour and take control of their working lives.
The International Cooperative Alliance sets out the Cooperative identity, values & principles that have been agreed by co-ops around the world.
CECOP is the European Federation of co-op in industry and services.
Co-operatives UK describes different types of co-ops, according to who owns or controls them.