The Earthworker Co-Op, Australia’s first worker-owned, green manufacturing plant celebrated the installation of its first solar hot water system at Kildonan Uniting Care in Coburg, Melbourne last month. This ‘job-saving’ approach to green technologies manufacturing is an alliance of unions, faith communities, green activists and small manufacturers.

Social Entrepreneurship Backed By The Uniting Church

Backed by the Uniting Church Social Enterprise Catalyst, people can now see more how this alliance leads to jobs and caring for the environment.

Manufacturing businesses Everlast and Douglas Solar, partners in the alliance, are concerned about the environment and the future of manufacturing. Collectively they have hundreds of years of manufacturing experience.

“The problem now for any manufacturer, even a co-operative manufacturer, is how to compete with cheaper goods from the developing countries, where workers are exploited through very low incomes,” says Dave Kerin, Earthworker Project Officer.

Doing Things Differently

Dave says unions are now providing the means to do things differently. They will provide the way to sell the co-operative’s goods, using the Agreements which they and employers negotiate.

“Earthworker Co-operative does not seek to eliminate, but rather to position our communities so that we own the dual climate and economic crises facing us, so that we can finally begin to realistically deal with them,” says Dave.

Good to see an informed, pro-active alliance

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