Monday, October 15 14:47:20
Details were today announced for Ireland's first multi-stakeholder co-operative, comprising business interests, local communities, consumers and workers.
Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance will officially launch the Limerick Workers Cooperative at a seminar at The Kemmy Business School in the University of Limerick on Saturday 27th October 2012.
Supported by Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council, the Limerick Workers Cooperative will be styled on the internationally successful Mondragon Co-operative Corporation in the Spanish Basque country, which has sustained over a quarter of a million jobs in spite of the ongoing recession. Established in 1955 through a coop of five workers assembling paraffin heaters, Mondragon is now the largest employer in the Basque country, employing more than 80,000 worker/owners in multiple areas including industry, banking and consumer sectors.
The new co-operative will feature a combination of producer, consumer, worker and community co-ops in Limerick's biomass, electricity and intensive commercial horticulture sectors.
"The purpose of this co-operative is to empower individuals and businesses in Limerick to work together and by doing so benefit from being part of a larger group," said Bill Kelly of Meitheal Mid West and the Workers Cooperative Network.
"The evidence from other countries where co-operatives have been established show that such groups are more adept at climbing the value chain, engaging in R and D, and keeping jobs and wealth in their local communities. They also have more buying and bargaining power than individual members might ordinarily have. Industrial worker cooperatives are competitive, innovative and profitable business entities which are proved to be more resilient that conventional businesses in times of recession. This development is of particular local significance in light of recent figures from the Central Statistic Office (CSO) that confirm 7 of the country's 10 worst unemployment blackspots are in Limerick.
"By establishing the Limerick Workers Co-operative. we are hoping to sow the seeds that will eventually see Limerick become a leader in the development of a cooperative-driven local economy focused on internationally traded goods and services."