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TFU SA Service co-operative Principals

1.    Open and voluntary membership.
Service co-operatives are not cartels. They do not exist to help their members at the expense of others. Any person or organisation may apply to join the co-operative and the existing members should allow them to join if they agree to abide by the rules and pay the necessary fees and charges.

2.    One member one vote.
This principal safeguard democracy. All users of the service, big or small, individual or corporate acquire voting rights. Extra votes cannot be acquired through investment or by affiliating organisations to acquire block votes. Simple democracy based on every member's right to vote and a knowledge that no vote will count for more than another is the best guarantee of support and involvement.

3.    Limited return on capital.
Service co-operatives have the power to accept loans from members and from other individuals and organisations, including banks and finance companies, and to make reasonable interest payments. It is, however, contrary to true co-operative principles to enter into agreements which give over control of the organisation to those who provide financial support, by allowing them to purchase voting rights or to benefit from trading profits or from growth in the value of assets such as property holdings. The function of service co-operatives is to provide services to their members and, conceivably, to generate jobs and reward for those that carry them out, rather than to make large windfall profits for outside investors.

4.    Equitable distribution of surpluses.
Co-operatives usually allocate their surpluses under three headings:
•    the reserves which are needed to carry on and improve the work of the co-operative (building up the assets)
•    charitable donations
•    bonuses or dividends to members
It is important that any distribution of surpluses between members is made on a basis which is fair and equitable. In a Service Co-operative this is usually based on the amount of services purchased by each member. Thus, the share of profits distributed relates directly to the members commitment to the co-op and the purchasing power which they provide.
Co-operatives are self-help organisations and are entitled to generate services, jobs, payments and profits for their members.

5.    Social objectives.
Co-operatives have a function beyond providing cost effective services to their members. By drawing together people and organisations with a common interest they usually provide a forum through which they can meet and support one another in many other ways. Co-operatives often take on a representational function and social function for their members. It is even a way by which members can express their social responsibility, drawing perhaps upon resources generated through increased income or saved expense generated by their Co-operative.

6.    Concern for the environment
Co-operatives are actively encouraged to consider environmental issues in the day to day running of their business. De carbonization of the supply chain is a focus point for TFU SA

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