Our interest is to create an alternative model based on an alternative vision to the classic capitalist system based on losers and winners. Our idea is a multi-company organization: everyone can become cooperative members, the workers as well as their customers and consumers. It is a model inspired in the French model of cooperative entities of collective interest, a form of multi-company cooperative. The idea is to put all parties involved in a productive activity around a table; also public institutions can enter the cooperative, when services impact on the organization of everyday life within a territory or municipality. In this system, each person can find their interest in a balance where no one captures or negates the freedom of the other.
Can this model be considered as an alternative to the ‘uberisation’ of the economy?
Yes, because it serves to make Uber and other digital platforms “smarter.”
Rebuild the world… of work: An alternative to the uberisation of the economy is the book written by Sandrino Graceffa, CEO of SMart, published by the publisher DeriveApprodi, in the “concrete community” column (112 pages, €12) which will be available in bookstores September 4th. Graceffa argues in the book: “lifetime job is no longer the predominant form of employment. We can regret it or feel nostalgic, but the main challenge today is to invent a new framework that preserves a model based on solidarity and mutualism.”
90 THOUSAND MEMBERS
In 1998, a group of itinerant performers decided to answer a recurring question among artists in Belgium: how to get a decent social protection level when they earn an irregular income, subject to delays? This is a problem that today also affects workers in show business, the self-employed, those who have occasional work and the independent. Thus the Société Mutuelle des Artistes (SMart) was born. Today, SMart is a cooperative present in seven European countries: France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland, Austria and Hungary. It has 210 permanent employees, 90,000 members, 80,000 buyers and billed €153 million in 2016, excluding VAT. Out of Belgium, the European members of SMart have sold €12.4 million, 10 percent of the cooperative’s turnover. In addition to this figure, €1.9 million were billed in about 60 countries around the world. Website: www.smartbe.be/fr/
SMART: FOUR YEARS IN ITALY
In Italy, SMart was born in 2013 and today it has a thousand members. There are two cooperative sites: Milan and Rome. As in other countries, it protects the work of independent and freelance workers: it guarantees its members’ wages, manages contractual, social security and performance benefits, provides information on international mobility, fundraising and copyright. Today, it is mainly active in the field of live entertainment (theater, music and dance), audiovisual (cinema, television, advertising), graphics and design, training and consulting. SMart has signed an agreement with the freelance association platform Acta ( www.actainrete.it), that allows the former to play the role of “chief-commissioner”. There is also a member service office at the Milanese cooperative’s headquarters in Milan’s Casoretto 41. For freelancers, the cost is 5 percent of the value of the contract, 8.5 percent if SMart also provides the certainty of the payment timeframe, guaranteeing the payment on the 10th of the month after the project was executed. Website: www.smart-it.org.