Open letter to Coops Europe & CECOP members meeting in Malta.

Ethics, openness and equal treatment are values held dear by all co-operators. Let’s introduce ourselves: We are the Malta Co-operative Federation. You might wish to know that in Malta, there are two Co-operative Federations. The other is Koperattivi Malta, who, we have learnt, will be hosting you in Malta.

You might be saying: “how come tiny Malta has two Co-operative Federations?” Well, the answer lies in the state of the Co-operative movement in Malta. The first agricultural co-operatives were set up in 1947. That’s exactly seventy years ago. With the advent of worker co-operatives, years of activism in Koperattivi Malta proved that newly set-up and new wave co-operatives’ voices were not being represented and addressed. This was not only having repercussions on existent co-operatives, but also on potential ones. The Co-operative movement in Malta stopped growing.

After encountering democratic as well as governance issues, a number of Co-operatives decided to form the Malta Co-operative Federation. Success was immediate: in four years, membership in the Malta Co-operative Federation shot up from 12% to almost 25% of registered Maltese Co-operatives. This increase was mostly due to the setting up of new co-operative enterprises the Malta Co-operative Federation helped to set up. These co-operatives today contribute to almost half the surplus of the Maltese Co-operative movement.

So far, so good. The problem is that since its inception, that whilst Koperattivi Malta has enjoyed significant funding from the Central Co-operative Fund, the Malta Co-operative Federation has never received a single cent.

We believe you would be interested to know who has denied the Malta Co-operative Federation its basic rights. It was Koperattivi Malta’s officials; the same people who will be hosting you in Malta for the Coops Europe and CECOP in the coming days.

There is apartheid in co-operative Malta. As co-operators, we think that you should know.

More information this time tomorrow….

Yours in co-operation,
The Malta Co-operative Federation