French minister proposes 7 measures to double the number of worker cooperatives in five years
The French Minister of Social and Solidarity Economy, Benoît Hamon, took part in the international conference of cooperatives, organized jointly by CICOPA and CG Scop on 16th November 2012. He presented his Social and Solidarity Economy Bill, which aims to create a “cooperative shock” and double the number of worker cooperatives in the next five years (today France has 1,910 SCOPs employing 40,734 people). The French minister also foresees that the public investment bank will release €500m for the social and solidarity economy. The Elysée sets out seven measures to facilitate the creation and development of worker cooperatives, "an essential way to get France out of the crisis," the minister said.
The first proposal is to establish in 2013 a preferential right to workers in the buyout of enterprises because, according to the Minister, cooperatives could provide a solution to the case of companies in risk of closing down. The second step is to provide training for the Courts for bankruptcy and professionals responsible for the taking over or the transformation of enterprises into cooperatives to remove “the reluctance, even hostility” of courts against worker cooperatives.
Then, the Minister envisages the creation of a status for new worker cooperatives that foresee the constitution of a new transitory status that will make the creation or transformation of enterprises by its workers easier. A new measure in the scope of the law is the creation of the status of cooperative groups (the current legislation does not permit it). The sixth and seventh points foresee the increasing support of cooperative networks (regional unions of workers' cooperatives in France) and the encouragement of worker cooperative export.
A sustainable and prudent model
According to Hamon, the French government supports worker cooperatives because they are a “long-lasting economic model, wise, universal; a model that doesn’t relocate, a quality one”. Statements and proposals made by the French minister can show the way to other countries. It is hoped that, beyond recovery, companies in crisis by their workers, which is indeed very important, the French government would also promote rising and innovative sectors. In addition, the network of enterprises formed by CICOPA would like also to offer its practical experience to use at the disposal of the French Government, regarding the cooperative groups.
More information about the Global Worker Cooperative Day here: http://www.cicopa.coop/Over-one-thousand-people.html
Source: CICOPA Europe Flash News, 16 Nov 12
See RECMA article: http://recma.org/node/2619