The party manifestos lack of reference to employee share ownership is a missed opportunity say ifs ProShare, the voice of employee share ownership in the UK.
There is no mention of employee share in The Conservative Party and UKIP manifestos and The Labour Party mention they will, “…safeguard the public interest in the Royal Mail, supporting the creation of a staff-led trust for the employee share, and keeping the remaining 30 percent in public ownership.”
The Liberal Democrat manifesto states that they will encourage employers to promote employee participation and employee ownership with a specific aim to “…increase further the proportion of GDP in employee-owned businesses.” Adding they would also “Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees, and the right for employees who collectively own 5% of a company to be represented on the board.”
While The Green Party make no specific reference to employee share ownership, they do replicate the Lib Dem policies by commissioning to give workers more of a say in the running of their companies. These include employee-elected directors in medium and larger companies and amending company law to ensure medium and large companies have employee representatives on their boards.
Phil Hall, special adviser to ifs ProShare says:
“Obviously the 10,000 plus companies offering an employee share plan and the 2.5 million employees who are participating in these schemes would probably have liked to have seen clearer commitments to employee share ownership in the various party manifestos.
“What’s more, given all mainstream political parties have previously accepted the benefits of employee share ownership – to individuals, employers and the economy as a whole – ifs ProShare would have liked a commitment to extending the benefits of employee share ownership to more companies and many more employees.
“That said, omission from a manifesto is very different from being omitted from parties plans. We have had constructive conversations with representatives from all the main political parties over the last few months and are confident that whoever wins this election will remain committed to employee share ownership in the future.”