Worker Co-ops: How to Get Started

In an era of intensifying economic inequality and systemic crisis, workers are fighting back by organising themselves in co-operatives. The purpose of a worker co-op is to secure decent jobs, support skills development and education, extend solidarity, and above all enable the members to collectively self-manage their working lives. Worker co-operatives are part of wider movements around the world for economic, social and ecological justice.

This workshop will be a practical exploration of setting up a worker co-op, looking at varieties of structure and decisions you’ll need to make along the way.

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Prices are on a sliding scale. Low Income tickets are limited.

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  • What is a worker co-op?
  • The practicalities of setting up a worker co-op - what you need, when you need it, and where to research further support.
  • Worker co-op organising techniques and practical tools.
  • Motivation, inspiration, and confidence towards starting a worker co-op
  • Some core skills and ways of working with others to build a strong organisational culture.
  • Do you have an enterprise idea, or need a decent job doing what you love - but want to share the work, responsibilities, and rewards with others? 
  • Do you have a social or community project where you want to embed participative management and people-focused work practices?
  • Are you interested in worker ownership and want the knowledge and tools to advocate for the model or help others get started on their worker co-op journey?

Siôn Whellens is a worker co-operator at Calverts, and a ‘barefoot’ worker co-op organiser based in London. He is an elected member of the Worker Co-operative Council, and is the UK member representative to CECOP and CICOPA, respectively the European and world federations of co-ops in industry and services. Siôn co-designed the Worker Cooperative Solidarity Fund, which supports worker co-op education, skills development and organisation.

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