A worker co-operative is a business owned and democratically controlled by the people who work in it in which the importance of capital should be subordinate to labour.
A World Declaration on Workers’ Co-operatives was approved by the International Co-operative Alliance General Assembly in September 2005.
- They have the objective of creating and maintaining sustainable jobs and generating wealth, to improve the quality of life of the worker-members, dignify human work, allow workers’ democratic self-management and promote community and local development.
- The free and voluntary membership of their members, in order to contribute with their personal work and economic resources, is conditioned by the existence of workplaces.
- As a general rule, work shall be carried out by the members. This implies that the majority of the workers in a given worker cooperative enterprise are members and vice versa.
- The worker-members’ relation with their cooperative shall be considered as different to that of conventional wage-based labour and to that of autonomous individual work.
- Their internal regulation is formally defined by regimes that are democratically agreed upon and accepted by the worker-members.
- They shall be autonomous and independent, before the State and third parties, in their labour relations and management, and in the usage and management of the means of production.