I do hope you had a good break over August. I am just back from a fantastic family holiday in Egypt and here is a picture of me quad biking in the Sinai Desert. Extremely adventurous for me to be doing this, but my daughters Ruby and Isabella threw down the challenge and I am more scared of them than I am of falling such a piece of machinery!
As usual plenty to blog about and this weekend I am contributing to the annual event for the UK Society for Co-operative Studies - more info at:
The blurb for the event states:
This year's conference provides an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the unfolding global financial crisis and domestic economic recession on the Co-operative Movement. It will also be a chance to relate these debates to developments such as the launch of the Third Sector Research Centre in the UK and the work of the Commission for Co-operative and Mutual Housing. As our conference will be following the International Co-operative Alliance's research conference in Oxford earlier in the week, this year's research roundtable will have an international flavour.
You may remember that in May this year I blogged about an event I jointly organised between Ruskin College, Unions21 and Coops UK which sought to rejuvenate the historical links between the trade union and cooperative movements through an exploration of modern methods to support employee ownership options for running businesses and social enterprises.
The event this weekend also examines this potential through the session I will contribute to and which is called Public Policy – Towards a Co-operative Commonwealth?
The idea of employee ownership is still a highly contentious one for the labour movement and as the May event demonstrated there is little room for debate around this from, for example, some trade union's perspective in the context of privatisation and externalisation.
Still, as employers seek alternative options to engage employees in share ownership as an alternative to increased remuneration, as with the recent agreement with BA and BALPA, and others like GM transfer stock to the UAW, it is essential that these developments are explored and understood to better support the potential for change in the economic policy of trade unions.
It is not simply enough as trade unions, particularly in the UK, have done in the past to simply ignore economic, social and political trends and assume that to do nothing is an option.
Or am I wrong, and is it heresy to suggest that workers, like those of the John Lewis Partnership, should own shares, and/or control corporate policy, in the organisations they work for?
A good, controversial topic to kick off the new academic year!