The Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) is a successful model for labour cooperatives, which has no parallel in the world, United Nations Resident Coordinator in India Lise Grande has stated.

She was delivering the inaugural address of an international conference on ‘Cooperatives in transition in the era of globalization’ organised by the ULCCS in association with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK) at the Tagore Centenary Hall in Kozhikode on Wednesday.

Presenting an international perspective on the role of cooperatives in the changing world, Ms. Grande, who is also the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in New Delhi, said that though there were several successful models for cooperatives in the world the ULCCS’s was unique and different from the rest. “We have not seen a cooperative model as vibrant and consequential as ULCCS anywhere in the world,” she said.

At a time when economies across the world were making desperate efforts to come out of the crisis they were in, certain cooperatives which have put forward successful models of functioning in different sectors without being affected by the crisis, deserved to be looked more seriously and honestly, she said.

“Cooperatives like the ULCCS are important because they have shown us a winning way when the rest of the word was frantically looking for a solution,” said Ms. Grande.

Pointing out some of the striking success stories in the cooperative sector from different parts of the world including Bolivia, Columbia and Brazil she clarified why they should be called success stories.

The total worth of the cooperatives across the world would be equal to the ninth largest economy in the world, she said.

Maintaining that around 50 per cent of the total food requirement of the world was met by different cooperatives, Ms. Grande said that the fact that they successfully withstood the world economic crisis when the rest of the sectors were rattled also should not be overlooked. “This is also a sector, which always supported and protected the interest of the working class,” she said.

Concluding her speech, Ms. Grande said that the UN had decided to comprehensively document the success story of the ULCCS by producing a documentary film on it for the rest of the world to take lessons from it. “There are great lessons for the rest of the world to learn from the success of ULCCS,” she said.

A book written by CPI(M) leader and former Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on the birth, growth and transition of ULCCS, depicting the 88 years story of the cooperative was also released on the occasion.

The book in Malayalam is in six chapters and is titled, ‘Munnetam.’ Its English version is also planned to be released soon, said Mr. Isaac, who spoke on the occasion presenting the theme of the international conference.

Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty presided over the function.

ULCCS president Rameshan Paleri, Deputy leader of the Opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Mayor A.K. premajam and A. Pradeepkumar, MLA, among others spoke on the occasion.

The remaining sessions of the three-day international event will be held on the IIMK campus.

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