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French minister proposes 7 measures to double the number of worker cooperatives in five years

20 November 2012 [ English ] français ]

The French Minister of Social and Solidarity Economy, Benoît Hamon has participated in the international conference of cooperatives, organized jointly by CICOPA and CG Scop on 16th November. He presented the draft law on Social and Solidarity Economy of the French government, which has an objective to create a “cooperative shock” and double the number of worker cooperatives in the next five years. The French minister, also foreseen to count on the public Bank of investment, the head of funds dedicated to the social and solidarity economy (500 million euros, according to government projects). The Elysée provides seven measures to facilitate the creation et the 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