Tej Gonza s študijskega obiska finske zadruge Lilith
“Ob prihodu v Helsinke sem z Netto Norro, članico partnerske organizacije Lilith, obiskal finsko asociacijo Pellervo, ki se ukvarja z razvojem in povezovanjem zadrug oziroma kooperativ. Pellervo se udejstvuje na številnih področjih. Prisotni so v izobraževalnem sektorju, kjer v okviru podjetniških delavnic predstavljajo zadružni model kot alternativni model za organizacijo podjetja. Finci zadrug sicer ne asociirajo toliko s socialističnim modelom gospodarstva, s čimer se soočamo na Balkanu, kljub temu pa zadrug ne razumejo kot gospodarskih družb temveč bolj kot del nevladnega oziroma socialnega sektorja. V asociaciji Pellervo se trudijo, da zadrugo finski javnosti predstavijo kot konkurenčen in ne marginalen model, ki poleg etičnih prednosti kaže na superiorne ekonomske indikatorje. Njihove raziskave namreč kažejo – in v tem so skladne s preostalimi svetovnimi raziskavami na področju zadrug -, da so zadruge na Finskem v povprečju bolj učinkovite kot neposredni konkurenti, prav tako ponujajo bolj stabilne zaposlitve in višjo donosnost. Pellervo izobražuje tudi poslovne in pravne svetovalce ter s tem širijo mrežo zagovornikov zadružnih principov.
Drugo jutro sem se sestal z Tommijem Viitamiesem, enim izmed ustanoviteljev Lilith kooperative. Imela sva dvourni pogovor ob zajtrku, v katerem je med drugim odgovoril na številna vprašanja, ki nam bodo pomagala v organizaciji slovenske zadruge za kreativne poklice.
(1) How many different profiles did you take in at the start?
10 musicians as founding members, different situation, no selection process, the problem was then that majority of people were not in for business, only afterward it became a productive enterprise.
(2) What are the biggest struggles in the first stages of operation? Communication, getting projects, managing the business?
Marketing, promotion and other things like that was done by one person for the first 2,3 years. It was a risk, the person was motivated by the idea of the cooperative operating in the future. When selecting core members, think about who is capable/interested in running the company.
(3) What does the administrative job look like? How did you administer things before you could hire an administrator? When to hire an administrator?
At the start, there was no platform, all communication was running on the email, so there was one administrator (at the beginning the same person that did marketing).
(4) How to set a price for different artists (e.g. more famous musicians are more expensive)?
Each artist is setting his/her own price, but there is also a minimum price that members should abide by, but each has a right to go below if he/she wants.
(5) How to separate different industries within one cooperative, to make them autonomous in their decision fields (setting a price, buying equipment etc.)? What about separating the industries legally by having independent coops under one coop-association?
Financing and managing are separated by the platform, cost-pool determines the limits of an industry (business). Common cost pool is run by the administration, operating costs.
(6) How many different profiles of creative industries do you have now? What separates them and what links them (in addition to the platform)?
Lilith covers the whole arts/creative industry spectrum. Painters, writers, designers, musicians, poets, photographers, … (around 200 professions listed in the official statement). Social media, discussion groups on FB, exchange of ideas and asking questions, the main tool for interacting is the platform. Members in different parts of the country (cells) hold irregular meetings. Usually individuals are coordinating these events, there are five cells like that in Finland. Once a year a general assembly for all members and then informal hangout. Every once in a while, conferences on different topics that cover relevant things.
(8) How to buy an equipment, if there is a conflict of interests (musicians want X, designers want Y, there is enough money only for one purchase)?
There is no conflict, because all equipment is bought from individual cost pools, the common cost pools are only used for operating costs. Strict rules prevent conflict. If more individuals decide to buy equipment, they join their cost pools. Members can hire the equipment and pay for it internally (from individual accounts). No taxes.
(9) What is the procedure for accepting new members? When is the time to accept a new member?
First the application by email or call or whatever, then they are interviewed on the telephone, afterwards a board (elected every year) receives a CV and request by a member, full membership granted at once (when the fee (292€) – it is never returned, members must think about it first to take it seriously). In addition, membership share must be paid (50€, refundable).
(10) In addition to the internet platform, what else does your cooperative offer to the members?
Doing business without having a company of their own, working as employees. Lower costs, a cooperative being a collective, networking, collaboration, a chance for bigger projects that can be possible to do on your own. Famous people joint the cooperative from the start, got a lot of media coverage. This is a strong recommendation – find known people that would support the initiative, people that we would want to have presenting the cooperative, try to discuss this with them.
(11) What is your international presence? How many international members of your cooperative are there? How do you promote your business in other countries? What is the response? How much of the business in % is done in foreign countries?
All members are based in Finland. Some members, particularly in the film industry, collaborate with foreign productions. Otherwise, not a lot of foreign business.
(12) What are the negative aspects of being organized as a cooperative? Is there any organizational struggle? What about public perception of a cooperative? Any troubles there?
There are situations when the concept of a cooperative is not understood, perceived differently, presuming that it is not a business, this is sometimes a problem. Unemployment agencies sometimes don’t understand this, so members have problems, because they are not considered as ‘’employed’’.
Popoldan sem nadaljeval program in s predsednikom upravnega odbora Lilith kooperative Heikki Masalinjem odšel na konferenco o socialni ekonomiji in zadružništvu na Finskem, ki je potekala na Univerzi Helskinki. Med drugim sem izvedel, da je Finska izredno na gosto poseljena z zadrugami. Zadružništvo na Finskem ima korenine v koncu 19. stoletja, ko je oče finskega zadružnega gibanja Hannes Gebhard začel delati kreditne in kmetijske zadruge. Danes je v več kot 4000 finskih kooperativah kar 4 milijone članov, kar pomeni velik del finske populacije (5,4 milijone prebivalcev). Največja zadruga je bančna zadruga OP Group s 1.7 milijoni članov, sledi ji potrošniška zadruga SOK Group z 12 mrd € vrednosti maloprodaje. Finska ima veliko zadrug v energetskem sektorju, stanovanjskem sektorju in električnem sektorju. Nekaj je tudi delavskih kooperativ.”
Tej Gonza z Inštituta za ekonomsko demokracijo je član ekipe projekta Z zadružništvom proti prekarnosti. V okviru projekta se je udeležil študijskega obiska partnerske organizacije Lilith s Finske.