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New course in Germany, new course for Europe
Until recently, Germany was quite reluctant about employee ownership. Things are now changing. The German Ministry of Employment & Social Affairs launch a dedicated website and an excellent brochure promoting employee ownership. German trade unions are discovering employee ownership as a tool against the financial crisis. Demanding a capital stake in a troubled company is fast becoming a powerful rallying cry - "Arbeitnehmer sind die besseren Aktionäre" (the best shareholders are employees !). Now that most big European countries feel positive, the whole political picture could change in a positive way for employee ownership at European Union level.

Proposal to the new European Parliament
After 10 years of (no) European policy, time has come to assess the situation and to re-launch a dynamic policy for developing employee ownership across Europe. 150 Members of the European Parliament and leaders from all political parties expressed their support to the Employee Ownership Manifesto for the 2009 European elections. Healthier economy, sustainability, better governance are the key points in most supporting messages from all parties. Proposal to the new Parliament

Press review
Much new information about employee ownership in August 2009, with 1.412 articles in this press review  (on which 497 involving stock options and 349 about workers' cooperatives). We made a selection of  60 remarkable articles in 15 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, United Kingdom, USA, South Africa.
Australia: Senate report on employee share schemes slammed by the federal government as an idea that would put workers' savings at risk.
Austria: Trade union pleading for employee ownership and capital anchoring.
Belgium: Press' drivels.
Canada: Closure announcement prompts employees to seek an employee ownership plan to save CHEK TV station from closing. Employee-owned media models may be new to television but not to newspapers.
France: "Le salarié actionnaire, nouveau chouchou des entreprises" (employee shareholders are the new companies' pets). New successful employee share plans for Publicis, Société Générale, Vivendi, Pierre Fabre, Axa, Vinci.  Altedia-BNP Paribas' Annual Inquiry 2009 confirms trust in employee savings and employee ownership.
Germany: German trade unions are discovering employee ownership as a tool against the financial crisis. Demanding a capital stake in a troubled company is fast becoming a powerful rallying cry for German workers. The idea of Mitarbeiterbeteiligung — employee participation in either the capital or the profits of their company — is catching on among trade unions. "Arbeitnehmer sind die besseren Aktionäre" (the best shareholders are employees !)
India: How to encourage employee ownership? Recent budget proposals by Finance Minister includes a requirement for listed companies to have public shareholding of at least 25%; broad-based employee ownership seems a good way in this sense. "No bonus? Give us shares instead !" Labour Minister suggests companies give employees stock options if they can't afford to give raises or incentives.
Japan's Financial Services Agency plans to make it easier for workers to invest in their employers through trusts.
Prime Minister Gilani  launch the Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme as a way to empower workers of State Owned Entities.
UK: Just before the crisis occurred, the number of employees participating in share option schemes was at its lowest level in 16 years.
USA: A new survey of companies with employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) show few changes to plans. On the other hand, ESOP companies outperformed Stock Market in 2008. Finally, American newspapers tell a number of employee ownership stories in various firms.

The full press review is available on:

A political roadmap for employee ownership in Europe

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   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel/fax: +32 (0)2 242 64 30
Web site:
EFES' objective is to act as the umbrella organization of employee owners, companies and all persons, trade unions, experts, researchers, institutions looking to promote employee ownership and participation in Europe.

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