EFES NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2009
a historic step
Crisises are typical moments for new ideas. Last summer,
we saw German unions changing their minds about employee
ownership, considering it as a tool against the financial
crisis, and demanding capital stakes in troubled companies.
"Arbeitnehmer sind die besseren Aktionäre" (the
best shareholders are employee shareholders)!
Now it is in the USA: Last month, the United Steelworkers
(USW) and Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa announced a
framework agreement for collaboration to establish workers
Unions are usually quite reluctant about employee ownership.
This is normal. It is well the unions' role to defend workers
against risks. Ownership is a risky matter, and this is
also true for employee ownership.
Highlighting the differences between Employee Stock Ownership
Plans (ESOPs) and union co-ops, USW President Leo Gerard
said, "We have lots of experience with ESOPs, but have
found that it doesn't take long for the Wall Street types
to push workers aside and take back control. We see Mondragon's
cooperative model with "one worker, one vote"
ownership as a means to re-empower workers and make business
accountable to Main Street instead of Wall Street."
accountability… This is about governance, pointing out that
ownership is not only a risk but also the ability to have
a say. Probably your risk is even higher when you don't
have any say.
Much new information about employee ownership in October
2009, with 1.538 articles in this press review (on which
526 involving stock options and 390 about workers' cooperatives).
We made a selection of 57 remarkable articles in 14 countries:
Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, United
The Australian Employee Buyout Centre’s mission is to preserve,
protect and enhance jobs through employee ownership.
Austria: Downward spiral must stop! Austrian union
ÖAAB urges the introduction of employee ownership. Take-over
of AMAG: Asking a minority stake for employees (25% + 1
Canada: Pyxis set up an Employee Shareholders' Co-operative.
Steria celebrates forty years of employee ownership. New
successful employee share plans for Cap Gemini, Lafarge,
Axa, Rexel. The crisis does not really affect employee share
plans; most companies maintain or develop new plans. Crédit
Agricole Asset Management is now Europe's number 1 in employee
savings and in employee ownership administration.
Germany: The new government will further promote
employee ownership. Tax benefits were increased from 135
€ to 360 € on April 1, 2009. It could now be increased to
2.400 €. On the other hand, capital stakes in troubled companies
should be encouraged for employees as a compensation for
Government and social partners discussing about employee
financial participation. At the same time, Italy is being
transposing McCreevy's Directive on shareholders rights,
and Italian employee shareholders' associations are in great
Pakistan: Prime Minister Gilani launched the Benazir
Employees Stock Option Scheme as a way to empower workers
of State Owned Entities. Representatives of Pakistan trade
unions reject it as an anti-labourer scheme.
Vice-Prime Minister Pawlak calls for a new privatisation
phase based on employee ownership.
A first in the Scottish local press: The workers from the
West Highland Free Press complete an employee buyout of
the independent title from its original shareholders. Computershare
becomes the market leader in employee plans administration
in the UK market.
ESOP community celebrates the Employee Ownership Month.
The United Steelworkers and Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa
announce a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing
Mondragon cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within
the United States and Canada.
The full press review is available
political roadmap for employee ownership in Europe
needs more members. Download EFES membership form
new on EFES website?
NEWS distribution: 150.000