PRAYER – GOD SAVE CO-OPERATIVES

Dr Gary Lewis  – An Australian co-operatives historian who re-wrote this prayer a couple of years ago. 

  • Save us from academics that pour over the entrails of co-operatives, then consign them to the footnotes.
  • Save us from managers who think cooperatives are like their egos – bigger is better. (Many CEO’s  educated in Australia with MBA’s don’t know or see the overseas value or vision for coops)
  • Save us from Politicians who periodically promote cooperatives but, when elected, put them back into the too hard basket.
  • Save us from governments who cut cooperation to suit their ideological pursuits. 
  • Save us from the headless dogma that has narrowly confined cooperation for economic enterprise.  (Larger coops don’t see the coop movement structures needed to start and grow and support others) 
  • Save us from investors who believe money is always more important than democracy (schools and banks don’t understand coops)

Egar Parnell in the  UK – originally wrote the prayer in the early … Read more

WORKER COOP DIRECTORS DON’T GET FEG PAYMENT

 

Federal Entitlements Guarantee (FEGS)

Employee-owned cooperative directors don’t get the Federal Entitlements Guarantee (FEGS) if their cooperative goes into liquidation. Even if they have been elected as a Director for a few months, they miss out on their LSL, holiday pays and redundancy entitlements etc.
However, under the 556 Corporations Act, directors can receive their entitlements owing them before they were elected as Directors of their workers’ coop.
This is based on the definitions of Priority and Non-Priority Days, where payments can be apportioned on a pro-rata basis.
Priority Days: This is the number of days as a director of the workers’ cooperative
Non-Priority Days: Is the employment days before being elected as a Director of the workers cooperative

The NSW Court of Appeal has ruled:

Section 556(1C) requires identification of the amount of payment that can be attributed to non-priority days. It assumes by use of the words “must not include an amount attributable to non-priority days” … Read more

ENLISTING WORKERS TO RESTRUCTURE BUSINESS

Preserving Jobs and Businesses in Challenging Times

Workers jobs are threatened as never before due to the worldwide economic downturn brought on by the COVAD 19 pandemic. Over the last sixty years, the booms and busts of capitalism have driven workers to demonstrate solidarity and stage initiatives to acquire the threatened company they work in to keep it operating. These have been termed worker buyouts or employee buyouts depending on the culture. From a Christian viewpoint, this has its roots in the encyclical Rerum Novarum, and its emphasis on justice, workers rights, the dignity of work and the principle of subsidiarity – decisions are to be made by those who have to carry them out. The famous worker cooperative Mondragon Co-operative Corporation in Catholic Spain was initiated by the Catholic priest Father Arizmendiarreta and has become a pilgrimage thousands take to understand the Christian business model of sharing in ownership, decision making and profits.

This phenomenon of the EBO – … Read more

Robert-McMaster

REPORT ON THE PERFORMANCE CULTURE – C-MAC INDUSTRIES COOPERATIVE

Cultural & Performance Change

To identify training and the support required for staff to move into employee ownership through the introduction of the “Employee Share Ownership Plan” (ESOP), C-Mac needed to understand the current situation. Consultants were engaged to undertake a survey and make recommendations. The report was titled:

Employee Ownership, Performance Management and High Performance: A Report on the Performance Culture at C-Mac Industries and the firms’ readiness for Transition to Employee Ownership.

Undertaken by Dr Anthony Jensen (Founding member of the Cooperative Development Network)

Below is the Introduction from the report:

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to support the vision of the owners of C-Mac to transition ownership of the firm to its employees over four years. With its move to make shares in the business available to its employees, C-Mac’s owners and its leadership team have shown that they are forward-thinking and prepared to embrace change.

Importantly, whilst C-Mac has received national recognition for its … Read more

COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING

What is Community Wealth Building?

My interpretation of the big picture:

• Re-making our local economy, creating a strong, resilient community with trust-based relationships, local connections, individual community champions, reserves of human capital and volunteer effort.

• Working with “anchor institutions” with the aim of maximising local economic, environmental and social benefits from their spending on goods, works and services.

• “Clawing back” wealth with local import replacement and recycling of local income thereby stemming the leakage of revenue from the Hawkesbury.

Why care about Building Community Wealth?

• This is about the dignity and sense of worth of our local community; of their relevance; of their well-being and their productive and useful place in the economy.

• Creating a fairer and more sustainable economy that retains and builds wealth that adds social value from within.

• This is a practical agenda to address real, local economic stresses.

• This is a “bottom-up” approach

Why now?

• Our regions have Read more

Robert-McMaster

CO-OPERATIVE ACQUISITION STRATEGY

Co-operative Acquisition Strategy

The number of “baby boomer” business owners wanting to retire and realise their assets by disposing of their businesses and selling properties is increasing. This could potentially put large numbers of people out of work.

Advice on how to transfer ownership to staff in the way of a workers co-operative through experience is not readily available or easily found in Australia.  Also, existing employee cooperatives can become successful through mergers and acquisitions 

Having recently transferred our 50-year-old family manufacturing business www.cmac.com.au to a workers’ co-operative so I could exit the business and retire, I discovered that co-operatives can potentially be the most socially responsible solution.

This was after a journey of nine (9) years exploring and trying different succession options.

All the below succession options were implemented and tried at C-Mac and the co-operative solution was the only one that got over the line in this economic environment where manufacturing has been struggling and re-inventing itself in

Read more

IMPACT OF EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP

Below is my summary from the “The Ownership Enquiry – Final Evidence Report” June 2018, which I thought a great introduction for anyone wanting to understand why I introduced employee ownership into our family business. Educating yourself before jumping into launching EO is critical to the success of your succession.

The evidence of the impact of employee ownership on performance is overwhelmingly positive. The most apparent evidence is for smaller firms, firms with larger employee ownership stakes, and in studies over longer time horizons.

Employee-owned firms tend to be more productive, have higher employee engagement, along with factors like rewards sharing, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and motivation – which is reflected in higher retention and lower absenteeism.

Employee-owned business is more resilient in crises and appear to have a positive impact on the broader community. This evidence has salience in the current economic climate. The economy is increasingly shifting from manufacturing to services. The increasing shift involves the development of … Read more

FAMILY BUSINESS SUCCESSION

What do you do if you cannot find a successor or a buyer for your family business? Sell to your skilled and experienced workforce! “It’s an answer you may have been looking for.”

57% of family businesses have acknowledged that they would have no choice but to cease trading within one year of a severe illness or death of a current owner.

Only 42% have planned for the family business succession.

Family Business Succession Options

Model 1. “Recycling dad” but what if no one is willing or able to step into dad’s shoes?

Model 2. Next Generation ownership and management

Model 3. Have active next-generation owners with a non-family management team

Model 4. Trade Sale or find a private equity investor

Model 5. Management Buyout – Then the question arises; Can the business then sustain another MBO when the managers/owners are ready to retire?

Model 6. Employee Ownership

                6a. Create some liquidy with a minority employee ownership stake. This unlocks … Read more

INTERVIEW WITH DR. ANTHONY JENSEN, CO-AUTHOR OF “WAKING THE ASIAN PACIFIC COOPERATIVE POTENTIAL”

This interview was released by The International Cooperative Alliance Asia Pacific and has C-Mac Industries (an Australian workers Cooperative) as a case study.

Dr. Jensen is the lead editor and key author of the book “Waking the Asian Pacific Cooperative Potential”. He is also the Founder of the Asia Pacific Cooperative Research Partnership, with Prof. Kurimoto.

Q 1. What was the genesis of the book?

This project had its genesis in collaborative thinking around the idea of comparative research. An idea whose time had come. It started with discussions I had held with Mr Bien Nito at the University of Asia Pacific on a comparative study of cooperatives I had conducted in Italy and Australia, and how this could be applied to Asia-Pacific. Ms Melina Morrison of the Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals (BCCM) in Australia suggested that I put this to the ICA-AP Research Committee in Bali in 2015, where it struck a deep chord with Professor Akira … Read more

HOW IS YOUR EMPLOYEE-OWNED COOPERATIVE PERFORMING?

Mutual Value Measurement or Cooperative Value measurement is a recently developed method funded by BCCM and Monash Business School

As values-based businesses, the greatest challenge for co-operatives and mutuals is to let our values shine. This is a new way of measuring our positive impact on our members, our customers, the community and the economy.

There is a toolkit for measuring the value we create. A framework that helps the CME sector measure their total value creation (mutual value) through a set of common dimensions. Creating a commonly shared language about measuring and reporting mutual value.

The MVM Framework can be used by CMEs across different industries, of different sizes, and with different capabilities.

The Framework uses six dimensions to cover the unique areas of value that CMEs generate.

  1. Commerciality

Generation of sustainable economic value for current and future members through business cooperation

  1. Shaping Markets

Creating, maintaining and/or shaping sustainability and competitive markets for goods and services

  1. Member relationships

Building … Read more