Address: European Cooperative House
Avenue Milcamps 105, 1030 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 543 1033
Email: cecop@cecop.coop

Spain: Worker Cooperatives facing the economic crisis

5 May 2009 [ English ] français ]

There had been less worker cooperatives created in 2008 in comparison to the previous years. Economic crisis has touched the growth of cooperative movement, which created 1,7% less enterprises than in 2007. These data have been registered by the Spanish Confederation of Worker Cooperatives (COCETA), and presented during the annual meeting in Murcia.

Despite the negative data, the figures concerning worker cooperatives are even better than the classical companies, which registered a loss of enterprises of 7%. Furthermore, worker cooperatives increased the employment rate of 0,12%, in comparison to the total amount of employment in Spain.

“This crisis is not affecting cooperatives in the same way as the majority of enterprises, it is a financial crisis”, said Juan Antonio Pedreño, who has been re-elected as president of COCETA during the assembly. “This moment is showing also a crisis of values and, on this field, cooperatives have advantages because our model is based on values driving and characterising our enterprises”

Presently, 18.625 worker cooperatives exist in the country which employ 300 000 people (members and non member workers). It represents 1,64% of people working in Spain. The largest part of existing cooperatives in the country is worker cooperatives; these are followed by housing cooperatives (3.200), and transport cooperatives (2.400).

One of the most important features emerging from these data on worker cooperatives in 2008 and which also repeats itself in the history of cooperation is that the majority of people working in these enterprises are also members, and the remaining 20% have an open-ended contract. In the course of the previous years, two main characteristics are differentiating worker cooperatives: their size is smaller and they have an increasing presence in the service sector.

Woman and immigrants employment

One of the main aspects of worker cooperatives is linked to women’s employment. According to the analysis of the Labour and Immigration Ministry, the percentage of women in cooperatives (worker cooperatives, agriculture, housing, consumer, education, maritime, decrit, transport and services) is higher among workers who have a fixed-term contact that those who have an open-ended contact. However, this trend is the opposite for worker cooperatives as the members and consequently, the leaders represent 73,7% of women who work in the company.

On the other hand, 39,4% is the percentage of women who have a managerial roles and is much higher than other entrepreneurial forms.

Another relevant consideration is that increasing interest on cooperatives has been demonstrated by immigrant people. As in 2007, 10% of people creating cooperatives in Spain come from abroad.
In 2008 and 2009 COCETA had been making efforts to improve the environment for its enterprises finding financial agreements and acting for the support from autonomous communities for the awarding of financial aid to cooperatives. Pedreño ensures that this responsibility will be shared by Government, financial institutions, cooperatives enterprises and social economy enterprises.

For more info:
COCETA Communication Department:
Tel: +34 91.446.9750 | prensa@coceta.coop | www.coceta.coop