15.11.2013: Employee Representation on Boards in Large European Companies in 2013 - The Numbers

  European Commission's Green Paper on the EU Corporate Governance Framework
In 2011 the European Commission launched a public consultation organized by Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market) on the EU corporate governance framework. For the first time in this Green Paper, the European Commission points out employee share ownership, as an element of corporate governance, and not just as a question about financial participation between employees and employers. See all details about the consultation and the Green Paper

  Question about employee share ownership and corporate governance
This is how the Green Paper introduced question 23 about employee share ownership and corporate governance:

"Employees' interest in the long-term sustainability of the company for which they work is an element that a corporate governance framework should take into account. Employees' involvement in the affairs of a company may take the form of information, consultation and participation in the board. But it can also relate to forms of financial involvement, particularly to employees becoming shareholders. Employee share ownership has a long tradition in some European countries. Such schemes are mainly considered as means to increase the commitment and motivation of workers, raise productivity and reduce social tension. But employee share ownership also involves risks from lack of diversification: if the company fails, employee shareholders may lose both their job and their savings. However, employees as investors could play an important role to increase the proportion of long-term-oriented shareholders.
Question: (23) Are there measures to be taken, and is so, which ones, to promote at EU level employee share ownership?"

  Many people answered the consultation about the EU corporate governance
Many companies, enterprises organisations, unions, organisations of the civil society and public authorities answered the consultation. Question 23 about employee share ownership and corporate governance received 252 answers from 34 countries. All detailed answers to the consultation are available for download here, including the EFES' answer

  Analysing answers about employee share ownership and corporate governance

  Answers about employee share ownership are globally positive. In fact, the global quote is positive at 65%. All answers to question 23 about employee share ownership can be found here in a synthetic document. We quote each answer from -3 to +3 (very negative to very positive).

  However, it is sad that the question was ambiguous: Many people answered positively, supporting the idea that employee share ownership should be promoted by the EU, while others gave negative answers fearing that the EU could restrict their freedom in the field (for example, most Swedish companies gave the same hard negative answer even calling to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms).

  The first "feedback statement" from the Commission's services express a negative conclusion: "there is no majority to support intervention at EU level in this field"). This statement seems hasty. In fact, most answers are well positive (see table). We send a letter about this to Commissioner Michel Barnier.

  Detailed synthesis and analyses will be soon available.





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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.