Keynote speakers

The gig economy and the changing nature of work

A sharp increase in self-employment has been coupled with a decrease in the average income of self-employed workers  over the last decade. With this trend expected to continue there are big questions about the nature of work we can expect in the future. We examine two different ways in which organisations are helping self-employed workers to organise together.

A trade union for the self-employed
John Park, Community

The trade union Community has seen its members and others leaving traditional industries and moving to work for themselves – whether by choice or the force of necessity they have the independence that comes with freelancing, but the insecurities too. Realising that this trend will only increase, Community has declared it will become the union for the self-employed, fighting for the rights of the workers in the new economy.

60,000 freelancers and counting
Sarah de Heusch, SMart 

Over 60,000 freelance workers in Belgium are members of SMart, a co-op that takes away the pain of finance and accounts and allows them to focus on doing their work. SMart offers a model based on mutualization of means and risks, as yet unseen at anything like this scale in the UK, for how freelancers can cut costs and increase security by coming together through a co-operative.

Panel discussion: reimaging the economy

Four leading thinkers and practitioners discuss what needs to be done to transform the economy in a way that shares power and wealth more widely. Covering some of biggest issues facing the UK - inequality, land, housing, jobs and public services - the panel will look at the role co-operation can play.

Facilitator: Baroness Glenys Thornton, Chief Executive of the Young Foundation and long-term campaigner against economic inequality

Rachel Lawrence, Principal Director of Communities & Localities at the New Economics Foundation and a leading figure for community ownership

Andy Wightman, Scottish Green Party MSP and and writer and activist on land reform in the Highlands and Islands.

Ibon Zugasti, International Projects Manager at Mondragon Corporation, the world's largest worker owned business

Do it ourselves: a future powered by co‑operation

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, will launch 'Do it ourselves' - an ambitious new strategy to strengthen and grow the UK's co-operatives. With action from across the sector and beyond to inspire new co-ops, be open to innovation to champion great practice, the strategy is a call to action for co-ops of every kind.

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