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 Controversy in employee share ownership

We know that the results of employee share ownership are beneficial. This is a proven fact. However, employee share ownership takes many forms (there are about ten basic models).

The ideological and political origins of employee share ownership are even more diverse. The review of the supporters of employee ownership ranges from Margaret Thatcher to Ronald Reagan, Charles de Gaulle, Karl Marx to Michel Bakunin. And as for the opponents, they can be found just as easily in the ranks of anarchism, Marxists, Gaullists, ultra-liberals and conservatives. Of course, we can also put Donald Trump in both camps.

As for us, we have to differentiate between fact and fiction, motivations, interpretations, ideologies and particularities as much as possible.

Never before has the distribution of wealth or the ownership of companies been so democratised as it is today. Billions of people around the world have access to it today through banks, pension funds, investment funds and others.

In comparison, employee share ownership remains relatively less widespread.

There is a growing controversy about this, especially in the United States (see this month's press review). It originates from the increasing choice of major private equity funds to include a share for employee ownership in their financial plans. The KKR fund and its leader Pete Stavros express this strongly (“Greater employee ownership can make work fairer”).

On the other hand, historical supporters of employee share ownership view this willingness to participate in the financing of employee share ownership in a negative light. They see it as an intrusion. They argue against finance, for a return to community spirit, to local roots. Corey Rosen, the founder of the central organisation for employee ownership in the United States, the National Center for Employee Ownership, expresses this view in a new book (Ownership: Reinventing Companies, Capitalism, and Who Owns What). A must-read. 

Press review
We have a selection of 34 remarkable articles in 6 countries in September 2022: Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, UK, USA.
France: Complaint in court at EDF. New employee share plans for Engie, for Léon Grosse, for Veolia Environnement, Michelin, Capgemini, Valeo, Spie. Receivership for Scopelec, the largest workers' cooperative in France. Involving employees in corporate governance, a French (and not German) invention.
Ireland: Ireland lags behind rivals for employee share schemes.
Italy: The various forms of employee share ownership.
Spain: New employee share plan for Michelin.
UK: Every day a new SME is transferred to employees. This month, among others, the cases of:
Highland Ecology and Development, Shuttle Buses, Britsafe, ShapeBlue. Share options explained: the essential guide for UK startups.
USA: What is an ESOP? Can employee ownership help save capitalism from itself? Employee ownership programmes are gaining traction in the private equity industry.

The full press review is available on:


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   With best regards



Marc Mathieu
Secretary General
Avenue Voltaire 135, B-1030 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 242 64 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 791 96 00
Web site:
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.