Blake House is a Workers Cooperative

Full democracy, equality, fairness

When you think of a normal business you think of shareholders, bosses, profit margins and line managers. Uninspiring days sitting at a desk fulfilling the tasks handed down to you, working unpaid overtime when necessary and often feeling like your work is insignificant, meaningless and maybe even a little bullshit.

That’s what we thought, going through our lives stuck on some kind of ladder to nowhere wondering how to make a living, remain creative and feel fulfilled.

Then we found the co-operative movement and workers cooperatives, businesses that are run for and by the workers. That means no bosses, full democracy among members and an equal voice in how the business is run and an equal share of the profit of the company.

No, it’s not just a dodgy bank or a funeral provider.

It sounds a bit too good to be true, sure, but look into it and find out about the contribution worker cooperatives make to the economy, the job satisfaction of members and the number of successful worker co-ops currently out there in the UK.

There are 7 principles that are universal for co-ops and help make sure that we adhere to good practice in business:

Voluntary and Open Membership

Co‑operative membership is open to all workers able and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

Democratic Member Control

Co‑operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, setting policies and making decisions. Members serving as elected representatives are accountable to the wider membership.

Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital and finances of their co‑operative. Members decide how to use surpluses (profits).

Autonomy and Independence

Co‑operatives are independent, self‑help organisations controlled by their members. If they raise capital from external sources, they must maintain their co‑operative autonomy.

Education, Training and Information

Co‑operatives provide education and training for their members and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co‑operatives. They inform the general public about the nature
and benefits of co‑operation.

Cooperation Amongst Cooperatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

Concern for the Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

If you’re interested in finding out more about co-ops or the wider co-operative movement, send us an email, or check out some of these organisations and the work they do.

The Hive
Coops UK