Labour pledges to ‘put power in the hands of workers’

Richard Leonard spoke at the Co-operative Party conference on Saturday.

Scottish Labour: Richard Leonard spoke at the Co-operative Party conference. <strong>Getty images</strong>
Scottish Labour: Richard Leonard spoke at the Co-operative Party conference. Getty images

A Scottish Labour government would put power in the hands of workers so they – and not absentee directors – can decide their future, Richard Leonard has said.

The party leader announced it would put the agency Co-Operative Development Scotland, which helps companies grow through collaborative and employee ownership business models, on a statutory footing.

It was established by the last Labour-led government but had floundered under the SNP, Mr Leonard said.

The MSP told the Co-operative Party conference in Glasgow on Saturday: “I can announce today that the next Scottish Labour government will rescue Co-operative Development Scotland from Scottish Enterprise.

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“We will establish it on a statutory footing in its own right. We will vest in it the authority of a democratically-constituted board.

“We will arm it with the instruments of investment that it demands and the technical assistance and the expertise that it needs.

“And we will give it new legal powers to intervene in the economy.

“We will introduce an Industrial Reform and Common Ownership Act – a Marcora Law for Scotland to give workers a new legal right to buy an enterprise when it is put up for sale or facing closure.

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“So a new right to convert it into a co-operative or employee owned business.”

He added: “Under our proposal we would put power in the hands of the workers themselves to decide their own future and so make their own history, not leave it in the hands of absentee directors in faraway boardrooms.”


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