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Labour initiative to save jobs

Leonard plans ‘right to buy’ bill for employees

Richard Leonard
Richard Leonard: plans bill (photo by Terry Murden)

Scottish Labour is to demand the Scottish parliament introduce a new law allowing workers to buy out their employer if it is facing closure.

The party’s economy spokesman Richard Leonard is hoping to introduce a Member’s Bill in the next session at Holyrood.

Labour’s interest in introducing an employee right to buy was included in its Industrial Strategy unveiled last Thursday (Daily Business 6 July).

It would operate in a similar way as Italy’s so-called ‘Marcora Law’ which enables employees to purchase ownership stakes in closure-threatened businesses to keep them trading.

The move has helped to create scores of new employee-owned firms, mainly set up as worker co-operatives.

“In our view, too much economic power rests in too few hands. Scottish Labour wants to see a rebalancing of the economy,” he said.

“We need to grow the co-operative element of our economy, particularly employee-owned businesses. We will investigate the possibility of introducing an enhanced “Marcora Law” which would enable workers to have the right to buy an enterprise when it is up for sale or threatened with closure.

“We should consider promoting employee ownership as a desirable choice that does not destroy value.

“As well as safeguarding jobs, this could also stem the loss of local ownership and local jobs by anchoring businesses in their local community.

“As part of our campaign for an economy that works for the many, not the few, I will consider introducing a Member’s Bill in the Scottish Parliament to make this a reality.”

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