Self-Management in Solidarity Economics

Finalist 2013

Central de Trabalhadores(as) da Economia Solidária
Rua Guarai, 1315 - Bairro Guanandi
(67) 3201-0183
Responsible for technology
NamePhoneEmailSocial Networks
Sebastiana Almire de Jesus(67)
Claurinda de Oliveira Frazilio(67)
Technology Summary

Technology Summary: This social technology consists in the self-managing operation of a Central Marketing Unit of Solidarity Economics in the city of Campo Grande (State of Mato Grosso do Sul), which has been effective for 6 years, under the collective management of workers. It offers a marketing area, provides services and carries out solidary training.

Main Theme


Problem Solved

Social relations in the workplace, established according to the historical model, tend to establish power relations between employees and employers, or even among employees, according to the position they occupy. These oppressive interrelations reflect the feeling which moves the system, of individualism and competition at any cost, directed by the desire to possess the means of production to accumulate private capital. This logic of profit is sustained by the reduction of sallaries, the deterioration of working conditions, the suspension of workers' rights and the destructive usurpation of the natural environment. Thinking and acting according to new paradigms in working relations and respect for the environment, under the principles of solidarity economics, with just and solidary commerce, we have been acting in mutual cooperation for more than six years. The problems we faced were in the area of productive logistics, marketing and consumption, lack of transportation, production scale and, most of all, the lack of a collective marketing nucleus managed by the workers themselves, men and women in search of a liberating autonomy. We did not solve all of these problems, but the experience of a collective shop has strongly contibuted to improve our self esteem and income.

Solution Adopted

The participants in the Central Marketing Unit of Solidarity Economics (CCES/MS in Portuguese) are production groups organized in the capital's neighborhoods, as Basic Nuclei of Solidarity Economics, and in more than 36 municipalities of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. The population concerned consists of low-income people, most of whom have completed their basic education or high school. The age groups are very diversified, but there is a predominance of women above 40. Among the members of the Unit are family farmers, quilombola communities and Indian communities, plus creaftsmen and women, seamstresses, workers from the food industry and visually impaired massage therapists. CCES-MS has been constantly fostering closer relations between initiatives in the capital and other cities in the State, thus interiorizing the progress of solidarity economics. The establishment of this new way of doing business, where all are owners of the shop and responsible for management and work, for searching new markets and making the products better known is becoming a reference for the movement. The organization is based on nuclei in the neighborhood, municipalities, villages and communities, where monthly meetings must be held, not only with the producers, but with other members of the community who are willing to participate in the movement. In this nucleus, the group of production chooses a coordinator and a deputy coordinator, who become directly responsible for the shop. They register products, receive the amount of weekly sales and transfer it to producers, and organize the work schedule of members who will be in the shop. Decisions are always taken collectively, in an Annual Assembly of the Managing Council with 10 members, monthly meeting of coordinators and managers, or even in extraordinary meetings when necessary. Every weekday one person plays the role of shop manager, with a team helping in the shop and taking care of whatever is necessary for the operations (cleaning, organization packing, cashier, delivery, sales, customer services, etc) The daily team is composed of 4 or 5 persons per day, from 07:30 a.m. to 06:30 p.m., in two shifts. The schedule is organized according to the availability of each member. The important aspect is that all groups must indicate who is going to work in the shop, and that all members of the group participate in the voluntary work, thus showing their individual commitment to the process. The persons in this daily dynamics of the shop come from the nuclei of Campo Grande (the capital), but others can work when they come to town. This has helped the personal growth of each and every one of them. The management is taken care of by a person who used to receive a certain payment, but later offered their work as a voluntary, because of the difficulties of the shop. This person controls stocks and sales, payments and purchases, and is a general manager. The groups from other cities, who cannot help in the daily care of the shop, offer a grater contibution of fees for maintenance, thus compensating the work of their colleagues who operate the shop. Part of the feed costs of those working in the shop is paid with this differential fee. Those from Campo Grande contribute 25% and those from other cities, 30%. 20% of these fees are used for maintenance and operation of the shop and 5% are given as a contribution to the FEES/MS, which dedicates these resources to visits and meetings with the groups integrating the Central Unit. Services of dressmaking and sowing are also offered in the shop, as well as massage therapy, by a group of visually impaired masseurs trained in the State's Institute for the Blind.

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Last modified date: 9/16/16 11:55 AM