While big German shareholder-owned corporations have worker representatives on their boards, The Co-operative paradoxically has no formal representation for employees. Studies have shown that employees who know they have a real stake in their enterprise perform better. John Lewis/Waitrose is one of the most successful retailers in the UK.
It simply is no answer to say that employees are encouraged to become members. A membership structure designed for millions of customers does not work for 100,000 employees. Existing rules are more concerned with keeping employees out of elected positions than encouraging them to participate.
We need a structure designed to give employees a real say, with a guarantee of representation at least at board level. We should be inviting them to become our partners in rebuilding The Co-operative.