Women in workers’ co-ops

Rebecca says: ‘I think the different thing about a workers’ co-op is the equality.’

Soon after Rebecca joined Catalyst, Emma, the person who had hired her, resigned. After a short period with someone in Wales, Rebecca hired Hayley as the other worker in the co-op – Hayley is still with Catalyst.

Rebecca explains how equality comes into it: ‘I’d been working there for nine months and had seniority by the fact that I’d been the person who’d been there the longest, and also at that point I’d nearly finished an Open University course, and so I was about to become qualified in doing accountancy.

‘I think there would have been a different power dynamic if we hadn’t been a co-op: I think it would have been me employing somebody to do specific tasks rather than collaboration.’

Instead: ‘Everything was discussed. If I’d been hiring an assistant, I’d have told them what to do, whereas everything was up for discussion – “Should we do this work? How do we want to do it?” We were a partnership of equals rather than someone with an assistant.’

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