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 Discriminations in voting rights

As long term investors, employee shareholders benefit from positive discrimination in France since 2014: Voting rights are usually doubled, which means that when employee shareholders hold for instance 6%, their voting rights count for 12%. This contributes to the growing involvement of employee share ownership in corporate governance in France. Employee shareholders are represented in the Boards of Directors in 33 of the largest French companies.

At the contrary, employee shareholders' voting rights suffer negative discrimination in six European countries: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

Typical cases here are companies issuing two classes of shares, A-shares with 10 votes and B-shares with 1 vote. Controlling owners hold high voting shares but employee share plans are based on low voting ones. This way, employee shareholders' voting rights are severely discriminated, in up to 37% of large companies in Sweden. Employee shareholders' voting rights are generally reduced by 30% to 60% in Denmark and Sweden, in comparison with the one-share-one-vote rule. More

Press review
We have a selection of 28 remarkable articles in 9 countries in April 2018: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, UK, USA.
Austria: Employee share ownership has become increasingly important in recent years and it is further expanding, particularly through employee ownership foundations.
Belgium: Plunge of employee share ownership - Belgium stands out strangely in Europe.
Czechia: New record year for employee share ownership in Europe.
Finland: Following the new legislation in 2011, the number of Personnel Funds has doubled.
France: Joseph Blasi & Douglas Kruse: Today's youth reject capitalism, but what do they want to replace it? More and more family businesses decide to open their capital to employees. From some workers cooperatives in France. Waiting for the new "PACTE" law: France is going to double its employee share ownership by 2030, with 10% to be held by the employee shareholders.
Hungary: The new legislation of 2015 helped to revive employee share ownership in Hungary.
Italy: ESOP-style scheme for Alcoa in Sardinia, with 5% held by employees and representation on Board.
UK: New employee ownership trusts. Waitrose woes dent the halo of employee ownership
USA: Joseph Blasi & Douglas Kruse: Today's youth reject capitalism, but what do they want to replace it? Numerous new firms turning to ESOPs.

The full press review is available on:

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   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 808 30 33
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 share ownership and participation in Europe.

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