Common roots

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Throughout the nineteenth century, workers set up co-operatives as a way of running their own businesses. Just as an individual worker is unable to negotiate his or her terms and conditions of employment with an employer on an equal basis, so an individual consumer or farmer is unable to negotiate on equal terms with more powerful players in the market.
Many active co-operators were workers and trade unionists. As employers, co‑operatives were ahead of their time.
Explore the ‘common roots’ of the trade union and co-operative movements through documents and photographs from the National Co-operative Archive.

Further information.