Cooperatives for a decent work

We are celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives 2019 with the slogan Cooperatives for decent work. As healthcare is a labour-intensive sector, health cooperatives have an essential role generating employment on fair terms for healthcare professionals and allowing them to perform their profession in working and economic conditions that ensure their freedom of professional judgment.

IHCO President Carlos Zarco highlighted that «health cooperatives allow doctors to practise their profession freely and ensure dignified working conditions for health professionals.»

The cooperative movement wants to convey the message that cooperatives are people-centred enterprises characterised by democratic control that prioritise human development and social justice within the workplace. «Cooperatives help to preserve employment and promote decent work in all sectors of the economy. Through participation, members have a motivation to change their lives, their communities and the world» ICA President Ariel Guarco said.

On 6 July 2019, cooperatives around the world are invited to celebrate a future in which human development and social justice are priorities. Through #CoopsDay, the ICA wants to make aware local, national and global policymakers, civil-society organisations and the public in general how cooperatives contribute to a decent working environment.

Cooperative employment is far from a marginal phenomenon. According to a recent report published by CICOPA, cooperatives around the world employ or are the main source of income for more than 279 million people—almost 10% of humanity’s total working population.
Beyond these numbers, different studies have confirmed that, by comparison with employment in other sectors, cooperative jobs…

  • tend to be more sustainable over time
  • show a smaller gap in earnings between higher and lower-paid positions, and
  • are more evenly distributed between rural and urban areas.

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About the International Day of Cooperatives

The United Nations International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July. This celebration aims to increase awareness of cooperatives. The event underscores the contributions of the cooperative movement to resolving the major problems addressed by the United Nations and to strengthening and extending the partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors.

On 16 December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution, which proclaimed the first Saturday of July 1995 as the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Co-operative Alliance. This year’s celebration will be both the 25th United Nations International Day of Cooperatives and the 96th International Cooperative Day.

Since 1995, the ICA and the United Nations have been setting the theme for the celebration of the International Day through the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC). It groups the ICA, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the ILO, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO)