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Works for You: guide to the co-operative model

Research project logo Co-operative Cast & Crew provides insight into the workings of the co-operative model.

8 April 2012

BECTU's work with Cooperatives UK to look further into the benefits of the co-operative model to support workers in the creative sector is summed up in a new report, Works for You.

Download the report

The research project, dubbed Cooperative Cast & Crew,  which ran from January 2010 - December 2012 was supported by the Union Modernisation Fund, part of the Department for Business and Skills.

Works for You is introduced by BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey:

"Co-operative Cast & Crew made substantial progress with testing the co-operative model as a way of providing better protection for agency workers. This project looked at ways of helping freelances with common interests to both find work and pool resources and to address the problems caused by unscrupulous agencies in the media and entertainment industry.

"Our priority with this project has been to explore a framework that ensures our members get the important services they require without the fear or exploitation experienced when using some employment agents.

"Despite the size and value of the media and entertainment industry, research demonstrates that freelancers and self employed people are often at the mercy of work finding agencies and unfairly treated or can find themselves isolated. The guide is for those who may be looking for a fairer and more equitable option. You’ll be taken through the basic steps of starting a co-operative, hear from people who already work in one and find out where to access advice and support.

"BECTU is the industry’s leading force for change on these issues and continues to campaign for greater protection for freelance members seeking work via employment agencies. We believe that the work undertaken in partnership with Co-operatives UK will provide the platform to improve the conditions for workers taking this route.

Jane Powell, secretary, Lincolnshire Co-operative Ltd and chair of the Co-operative Business Development Panel, also provides these comments:

"This practical guide is aimed at established freelancers in the media and entertainment industries and newly self-employed people looking for innovative ways to work. It is fitting that we launch this guide in 2012 at the start of the International Year of Co-operatives when 1.4 million co-operatives across the globe will be celebrating and showing how they build a better world.

"Co-operatives UK has a unique role as a trade association for co-operatives and our campaigns for co-operation bring together all those with a passion and interest in co-operative action. We have been delighted to work with BECTU (the media and entertainment union) over the past two years to research and pilot a new “Co-operative Cast & Crew” option for those working as freelancers in the industry. This guide brings together the learning from this project and we hope will inspire those in the industry to create a co-operative and equitable enterprise to better serve their needs."

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