In Italy around ten per cent of the economy (gross domestic product) is organised through co-operatives, with around eleven per cent of the workforce employed by co-ops, including many large-scale worker co-ops of course.
The response of co-ops in Italy to the health, social and economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to draw on their values, for sure, but also to find ways to co-operate between co-operatives.
The retail co-ops, for example, have seen revenues increase as essential services. Yes, they have faced increased costs too, but their decision was to gift the proceeds, millions of euros, in support of Italian public hospitals and community co-operatives that are playing a crucial role in supporting local communities.
In Lombardy, one of the regions worst affected, my friend Stefania Marcone tells me that through her national co-operative alliance, Legacoop (working alongside Confcooperative and AGCI) there is support for worker co-ops of cleaners switching to working in hospitals, social co-operatives delivering food and taxi co-operatives providing free transport for people who are over 65.