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Transitional worker cooperatives: a new tool for employees involved in company buyouts

9 February 2015 [ English ] français ]

The transitional worker cooperative is an initiative introduced under The Social and Solidarity Economy French Bill, which came into force in July 2014. Its aim is to help business acquisitions that fall under the worker cooperative umbrella, and to provide a new tool for employees undertaking a company takeover.

From now on employees can be minority shareholders, as long as they constitute a majority within the workers’ cooperative. They will have seven years to become majority shareholders. In this way, it will be easier for employees to complete a turnaround, and to progressively regain control of their company with the help of non-cooperative stakeholders.

An impact assessment was carried out at the time of the vote. This assessment suggested that within ten years there could be as many as 300-400 healthy businesses with more than ten salaried employees that become worker cooperatives. This figure would constitute 6-8% of all company takeovers. As a result of organisations transferring to worker cooperatives within the ten-year timeframe, 4,000-15,000 jobs would be secured or saved. This sentiment was echoed by Carole Delga, French Minister of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy, in a press release on 5th January; “Company takeovers by worker cooperatives will have a very positive effect on the French economy, because cooperative enterprises are particularly resistant to fluctuating economic conditions. 71% of worker cooperatives are still operational after three years, compared to 66% of traditional businesses”.

Find out more about transitional worker cooperatives

Changes affecting worker cooperatives and general interest cooperatives organisations under the Social & Solidarity Economy Bill