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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Gólya: cooperative management in Budapest

As members of cooperatives we work for 40 hours a week, of which at least 18 hours must be physical labor and the rest is organizing work in specialized smaller groups responsible for different areas of activity (programming, marketing, logistics, finance, bureaucracy and all the things that we need in order to keep the cooperative running). We all attend weekly assemblies and monthly meetings dedicated to strategic planning and team-building. We are now 10 members and the fluctuation is not that big, usually if somebody leaves there is always somebody about to become a member. We are few people; we have 3 or 4 workers and some former workers or former cooperative members come and fill in if needed.

You can become a cooperative member after a year of work in Gólya. You start as a regular worker doing “physical” tasks, either at the bar, in the kitchen, at the shows, or at the daycare. After about half year you can apply to member and usually you start to  engage in the more “mental work”, such as coordinating tasks, back office, learning how to run the place itself. By the time you become a member you should have learnt how Gólya functions and how to organize your own tasks. Apart from the time spent working at Gólya, to become a member it is necessary to invest in some shares, with an investment equal for all member and which cannot be sold, but which will return to the person in case they leave the cooperative. Membership also comes with social benefits, such as food and drink provision, vacation, housing allowance, maternity/father’s leave, sick leave, and special considerations for studies or other personal needs. We try to keep the number of employees low because we prefer to teach people the methods we use so they can join the cooperative. Working with us is not as working in a bakery or in a regular bar because we aim to function in a structure in which each of us becomes a piece of a puzzle and works in connection with the others...

Read the rest at Cooperative City


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