Businesspeople are pissed off that a new Labour policy would force them give some of their company's profits to their employees.
What it means: The profits-for-workers plan was announced at the TUC conference this week by Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, aka the guy who will be in charge of financial and economic stuff if Labour wins the next election. McDonnell hasn’t decided yet how much of a company’s profits should be paid into ‘employee funds’ to be shared out among staff, but another Labour insider says it’ll probably only be a few percent.
McDonnell didn’t invent this idea of giving out dividends (economist-speak for sharing out some of your profits). Businesses already give them to shareholders, who are the people who collectively own the company. McDonnell also didn’t invent the idea that workers could own their company instead of shareholders. Companies owned by their staff are called cooperatives, and include department store John Lewis and the supermarket chain Co-op (we bet they spent ages coming up with that name).
So why are company bosses so upset? Well, it’s partly because they don’t like governments telling them what to do. And it’s partly because they think they’re already having their profits squeezed enough by ‘uncertainty and change’ (read: Brexit) and government taxes. (Labour also wants to raise corporation tax from 19 to 26 percent).
It’s not just about what you do, it’s where you do it. Workplaces can create and cut jobs, borrow money and interact with the financial market, and buy and sell products from other workplaces, affecting their financial situations. There’s also the question of whether our workplaces should be taking care of us, or whether that’s the government’s job…