UK: World Joins In Celebrating UK Employee Ownership Day 2016

Last Updated: 7 July 2016
Article by Graeme Nuttall and Jennifer Martin

Friday 1 July marks the fourth annual UK EO Day - a day of celebration of employee ownership and a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the positive impact the EO sector has on the UK economy.

This year, the UK EO sector's success is celebrated around the World – read below a collection of messages from international organisations who support what we are achieving in the UK.

Australia - Employee Ownership Australia & New Zealand: "EOA Australia & NZ joins with the UK EO sector in celebrating EO Day. Since the first UK EO Day in 2013, we've seen major tax law changes in Australia that have boosted EO in start-ups and part of the driver for this has been the fantastic work done in the UK.  We join everyone in congratulating companies that operate EO."

Australia - Terri Butler MP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition: "Congratulations on celebrating EO Day. I'm enthusiastic about working with parliamentary colleagues to build better opportunities for employee ownership in Australia. I wish you all the best for the day, and for your continued efforts to promote employee ownership."

Canada – the ESOP Association of Canada: "The ESOP Association of Canada joins in celebrating the 4th UK EO Day on July 1. Congratulations!! We have been greatly encouraged by the UK Government's support for EO and the tremendous growth of the UK's EO sector since 2012.  Your work is truly inspirational.  Our Association has gained new enthusiasm and momentum within the past few years as we strive to instill greater awareness of employee ownership in Canada.   Following your lead, we are striving to find champions within our political parties and hope that the Canadian Government will also see, and support this very powerful model to aid in succession, productivity, engagement, resilience, employee satisfaction, and economic vibrancy. One day, we will also have a national EO day. We appreciate you for being a high-bar to which we can aspire in Canada."

Gipuzkoa - the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council: "We would like to share a series of reflections with you today 1st of July 2016:

  • Firstly, congratulations on your fourth annual UK EO Day;
  • We recognise that the path you have followed to promote "employee ownership" in companies, specifically through the equity stake of employees, has served as a reference for us to design our policies (and primarily to build our working framework and for the essential incorporation of all economic, social and territorial actors in this process);
  • We reiterate our commitment to continue working towards having more employee-owned companies which will help better develop the potential of people, businesses and the territory; in short, helping to improve the welfare of citizens.

We wish you a good 1 July, and for it to be the start of the exciting path to continuing to promote employee ownership in companies, which we want to and must share."

India – ESOP Direct: "I am very glad to know that UK is celebrating Employee Ownership day this year. The work done by the UK government and especially by Graeme Nuttall as the Advisor to them on this subject, is highly commendable. India and UK share the similar Regulatory foundations and principles, hence Indian businesses, Regulators and Government have a lot to learn from the UK experience and approach to this subject. We look forward to gaining insights from Graeme on the UK experience that can be used by countries like India. My team at ESOP Direct joins me in congratulating all in the EO sector for their incredible contribution in promoting employee ownership in UK and wish them all the very best!!"

Ireland - Irish ProShare Association: "IPSA joins in celebrating EO Day. We have recently seen the Irish Government announce a consultation on the taxation of share remuneration and while we are starting from a long way back we know we can soon emulate your success in promoting greater awareness and implementation of Employee Ownership in Irish SMEs and in time larger corporations. Thanks to all in the EOA for being the giant on who's shoulders we can stand!"

USA - Joseph R. Blasi, Distinguished J. Robert Beyster Professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, and co-author of The Citizen's Share: "Over a century and a half ago, Americans learned of British ideas on employee ownership from the widely-read books of John Stuart Mill. There is no question that the British inspiration helped fuel interest in the topic in the U.S. in the 1800s. Today, our countries are among the world's leaders in government and public support for more employee ownership, and the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations is proud to support Employee Ownership Day in the UK. Our research has shown the constructive impact of this important form of shared capitalism here in the U.S. Both countries have a lot to learn from each other about employee ownership in the future, and the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations looks forward to promoting trans-Atlantic dialogue on this important subject." 

USA – National Center for Employee Ownership: "The United Kingdom has become the world's creative laboratory of employee ownership. All of us at the NCEO salute your innovation, your energy, and most importantly, your incredible success in creating more employee ownership."

Germany - Prof. Dr iur. Jens Lowitzsch, Kelso Professor of Comparative Law, East European Business Law and European Legal Policy at European University VIADRINA, Frankfurt (O) and Director of the Inter-University Centre: "It is today that the Inter-University Centre joins with the UK EO sector in celebrating UK EO Day. The UK and in particular the most recent policy initiatives had a strong influence on our major report for the European Commission in 2014.  In the context of the launch of a "Five Point Plan to Promote EFP" we included UK case studies, highlighted the UK's unique trust model of perpetual EO and held up the effect of the Nuttall Review and the UK Government's support for EO as an exemplar for all of Europe to follow. I am confident that the UK will endure to be a leader in promoting EO and - despite recent political developments – continue to give key impulses for the development of EO across the EU. More than twenty-five years have passed since the Commission of the European Communities expressed an interest in promoting an EU instrument to facilitate financial participation of employees  Over this period a series of PEPPER Reports have documented the diverse experience of the growing number of EU countries.  Consequently, in its Resolution of 14 January 2014 (T7-0013/2014), the European Parliament called on the European Commission to further promote employee ownership and to investigate the issue of a European framework for the promotion of employee financial participation.  The results of the Pilot Project were presented to the EP in an EMPL workshop on 11 Nov. 2014 and the EP debated an Oral Question to the Commission on EFP on 10 Feb. 2015. Nowadays, the topic and especially its European dimension has gained importance across the European Union as the former Vice-President of the European Commission, Michel Barnier in his speech at a 2014 DG MARKT conference on employee ownership and participation, points out: "[. . .] Employee share ownership is, by its very nature, a long-term investment. It will have a stabilising effect on capital markets, and is seen by our enterprises as a welcome counterweight to speculative, short-term investment. Enterprises that practise employee share ownership, can count on a block of demanding but loyal shareholders, who are attached to an enterprise and know the firm better than external shareholders. [. . .]" Given this remarkable political initiative by the European policy-makers, we surmise that the conditions for improving the legal framework for financial participation of employees (and therefore for the transformation of non-owners into shareholders) are now especially favourable."

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