Perspectives on economic democracy, Employee ownership and worker’sbuyouts in South East Europe (SEE).
Already from thestart of the European integration, there has been a sound commitment to providethe employees with the right to be involved in decision-making. The process has led to the adoptionof a number of European directives supplementing and enhancing employeeinvolvement on national level too.
Also there is a growing social, business, andpolitical interest for an upgrade to the employer/employee relationship andestablish an institutional environment suitable for the growth of employeeownership sector, both at European and national level. The next step in thisprocess is worker/employee ownership in the private companies.
The national event focuses on perspectives ofemployee ownership and workers’ buyouts in the South-East Europe (SEE) with thepresentation of two successful pilot employee buyout projects based on the European COOP-ESOP model, which are being implemented inSlovenia.
The European Co-Operative Employee StockOwnership Plan (ESOP) or European ESOP model is a democratic version of the USESOP, which is the most successful transition mechanism to employee ownershipcurrently existing. Research shows that ESOP companies decrease economicinequality, lead to more sustainable business practices, are sociallyresponsible, and on average outperform non-ESOP companies in terms ofproductivity, crisis resilience, and employee retention. The main use of theEuropean ESOP is to address the ownership succession problem in the SME sector,which has been for years on the list of the SME challenges by the EuropeanCommission.
The second model currently being established inSlovenia is the European Marcora that builds on the good practice from Italy(Marcora framework) and Spain (Pago Unico law). The European Marcora helpscollectives of workers that are in risk of losing jobs due to insolvency orproduction cost optimization. The model provides financial liquidity tocompanies by allowing workers to receive the anticipated unemployment benefitsin lump-sum and access other institutional financial mechanisms, while at thesame time receiving strong technical expertise and entrepreneurial mentorshipthat ensures the sustainable restructuring of the business model. Theexperience from Italy and Spain shows that enterprises that convert intoemployee ownership through Marcora and Pago mechanism are highly competitiveand more resilient businesses.
Employee ownership complements workers’ rightsto information, consultation, and participation in enhancing economic democracyin the EU and the SEE.
This national event is giving the floor to thepractical ways of promoting these models with a clear focus on SEE.