Providing legal status for productive cooperatives
After 114 years, the last workers' production co-operative in Wallonia (Belgium) closed in 1999. The Modern Bakery of Jemappes went into voluntary liquidation, with the loss of 50 jobs, unable to match the prices of its industrial-scale competitors. The co-operative "Union-Progres-Economie" was founded in 1885 to supply wholesome food for the miners of the Borinage region, Wallonia's coal-producing heartland around Mons. A true social economy enterprise, it latterly offered not only a home delivery service to 8,000 often elderly people, but also employment training for unemployed people. The bakery had already been rescued once, in 1983, by the FGTB trade union.
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