Shadow Affairs Minister Ed Miliband has called for employees to be placed on corporate boards as part of a “really different way” of managing the economy.
He said that in most European countries it was customary to include employees on boards of directors, at least in state-owned or formerly state-owned companies.
He pointed out that countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia have laws that require the representation of employees on the boards of directors of all major companies.
In a new book called Go Big: How To Fix Our World, the former Labor leader says the question is how to make sure employee empowerment isn’t a business fad or marketing slogan.
He cited the example of Aardman Animations, the Bristol-based production company behind Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, which most of them own the employees.
Miliband said founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton decided two years ago that the best way to secure the company’s future was not to sell it to the highest bidder.
“It’s very important to emphasize that selling a company to an employee’s trust is not a charity, but it is a good thing.
Why does the power to control our lives stop at the warehouse gates or the office door?
The UK is lagging behind workers’ cooperatives, he said, writing: “According to the latest estimate, only 500-600 companies in the UK are labor cooperatives.
“Germany has a cooperative sector four times the size of the UK as a share of GDP, while in France it is six times larger.”
Miliband said the low level of employee ownership in the UK points to a broader problem of how the economy is managed and the role of workers in decision-making.
Research shows that nearly three in five employees believe they have no influence over decision making in the workplace, up to 70% of part-time workers.
Miliband wrote that out of 28 European countries, the UK ranks third from last in the Worker Participation Index, ahead of only Estonia and Latvia.
The Coronavirus pandemic has given back this homeland. The evidence is that most companies have behaved well, but two out of five employees say they are concerned about their safety but have not felt empowered to raise these concerns, and among those who raised them, only one in five said they were completely dissolved.
As a member of Parliament, I have had employees begging for me to persuade the government to make their companies follow the rules. This is exactly the kind of work that job boards run, and they really do it in the companies that have these jobs. “
A government spokesperson said: “The UK has one of the best employee rights records in the world and has a strong belief that employees have a say in decision-making in the workplace.
“We are committed to protecting and advancing workers’ rights, and in the past year alone, we introduced parental leave, protect new fathers on leave as salaries have increased by the millions through raising the minimum wage, and we are presenting plans to address workplace violations by a powerful new executive.”
Go Big: How To Fix Our World Posted June 3rd.
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