At our Manifesto launch, we were asked lots of questions by text and email.
We’ve tried to answer them here. Some questions have been combined for simplicity.
Q: Do you see union-coops developing in the housing co-operative sector? Housing co-ops are run democratically by tenant-members. Some housing coops employ staff directly while others use managing agencies (which are or originated as co-ops).
Housing co-ops come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but most are homes that are owned collectively (mortgaged) by the member-tenants or owned by housing associations or councils but tenants are able to run as co-ops.
The member-tenants work in all sorts of jobs or none and there are wider family members.
So, can housing co-ops become union-coops in the way you envisage?
A: We don’t see that, because union-coops are really designed for worker co-ops, owned and controlled by the workforce, but we believe TUs should be involved in community organising in this sector. A union-coop supplying services to a housing co-op could be involved in a multi-stakeholder model, but with the proviso that in matters relating to employment the worker members hold majority voting rights in line with our manifesto.
Q: Principle 10 prompts big questions about the contractual and institutional arrangements for the 10% financial levy. How are these arrangements to be established? By who? And under whose control will they operate?
A: Principle 10 is one of the strictly bounded ethical principles upon which the union co-op is run. Rather than being a ‘one size fits all model’, it is flexible, and each individual union-coop needs to adapt it to respond to local contexts, needs and requirements. Co-operatives are by definition, autonomous, so the contractual and institutional arrangements of the 10% levy should be formalised when the union co-op is set up. It should be administered by each union co-op as they see fit, spending it themselves on their own activity, or passing it to other bodies – it’s up to them.
See all the other Q&As at https://union-coops.uk/qa/