Cooperatives can play key role in future of work

The potential of cooperatives to play a positive role in shaping the future of work was discussed at a national conference in the Republic of Korea.

News | 17 July 2018
Participants at the conference
On the occasion of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) Exposition from 13th to 15th July 2018, in Deagu, the Republic of Korea, a Conference on the Future of Work and Worker Cooperatives took place both in Seoul on 12th July, the day before the expo, and in Deagu on 13th July, the first day of the Conference with the same topic and structure.

The expo was an event co-sponsored by 13 related ministries in the government and Deagu metropolitan city government in order to raise public awareness in Korea on the products and services of SSE enterprises including cooperatives, social enterprises, community enterprises, and self-help associations. During the expo, a number of side events including the Conference took place along with showcasing of products and services produced by SSE enterprises. The Conference was co-organized by various organisations, among others, Korea Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Forum for Social Economy in the National Assembly, Federation of Korean Trade Unions and Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency.

At the Conference, participants reflected on and exchanged their views on around the changing environment and entailing challenges surrounding the current and future world of work. Several speakers delivered presentations including: Bruno Roelants, Director General of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) as a main speaker and Hyungsik Eum, Strategy and Statistics Officer at the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), on the changing world of work and worker cooperatives; and Diana Dovgan, Secretary General of CICOPA (ICA’s sectoral organization representing workers’, social and producers’ cooperatives), on the current trend among workers’ and social cooperatives. Specific examples presented at the conference included worker buy-outs in Italy.

On behalf of the ILO, Simel Esim, the Head of the COOP Unit, delivered a congratulatory video message and shared some thoughts on the forces that are changing the world of work including technology, demography, economy, and environment. She also reflected on how cooperatives are emerging with responses to these forces of change.