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ILO includes cooperatives in a future Recommedation on tackling the informal economy

18 June 2014

An amendment including cooperatives was approved this week to the “proposed conclusions” on transitions from the informal to the formal economy. This is the first step and this item will be dealt with at the current session and at the 104th Session of the Conference to be held in 2015, hopefully with the publication of a Recommendation.

A fundamental aspect of cooperatives’ mission is to satisfy ordinary citizens’ needs through an enterprise which is democratically controlled by the same citizens. This is the main reason why they play an important role in the transition towards the formal economy.

Following the discussion in the framework of the International Labour Conference held from 28 May to 12 June in Geneva, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has included cooperatives in a future Recommendation on tackling the informal Economy.

Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CICOPA addressed the cooperative vision to the Plenary of the 103rd Session of the International Labour Conference, on behalf of the International Cooperative Alliance, on 4th June. He mentioned the fact that cooperatives deliver higher-than-average security of employment, social protection and contribution to development. Roelants also underlined “the capacity of cooperatives to show resilience and to innovate amidst periods of crisis. They showed it in the US and Canada under the Great Depression. After the global crisis struck in 2008, and under the protracted EU crisis, a series of studies have shown that cooperatives have been more resilient than the average of firms. We have shown it in the cooperative sector I work for (industry and services) through annual surveys, in terms of enterprise survival, job maintenance (and in many cases net job creation) and capital / debt ratio. The cooperative banking and insurance sectors have also been able to show it in terms of net gains in market shares since 2008”.

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