06 / 1993
Ginko Biloba was founded in 1987 by a group of friends aiming at creating "human" job conditions within a solidarity relations framework. Its name comes from one of the oldest plant: the ginko biloba is over 200 million years old. The 25 (12 women, 13 men)workers are specialised in the maintainment of green areas and agricultural sites. They are working mainly in the provinces of Casale, Alessandria and Turin. One expert in agriculture is coordinating different working groups of 2-3 people. Over the years they have been able to integrate workers from underprivileged groups.
Important decisions are taken at the General Assembly and then implemented by a Board of Directors (including all working members and the President of the cooperative). Salaries are also fixed collectively and are now considered to be low (around 1.000.000 It. Lire, 670 US $). This is often due to the 50% of projects commissioned by the public authorities which are often late in paying for the work. This, in turn, forces the cooperative to ask for loans to the local bank.
Over the last years, Ginko Biloba has opened a series of fruitful contacts with various groups and istitutions ranging from the Catholic trade union (Cisl)to associations specialised in working with aids and drug addicts. It also cooperates with the University for its own members’ training. It has a total budget of around 200.000.000 It. Lire (140.000 us $).
The first objective remains the creation of job opportunities. But the cooperative accepts only jobs that provide suitable working conditions and that fit into the solidarity relations Ginko Biloba has been promoting. Members of the cooperative give an overall positive evaluation of this experience though the financial situation is still considered to be weak. This has not prevented Ginko Biloba from creating more job opportunities than was originally expected.
Translated by Alessio Surian
DAVICO, Luca, IRED NORD, 1993 (ITALY)
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