Business ownership model gathers support

Parfetts staff from the left: Gary Power, Jason Lough, Tracey Ashman, Keith Jagger, Les Cutts, Sarah Hitchen, Luke Alderson, Karl Gledhill, Marzena Galek, Carola Kitson and Bob Horner.
Parfetts staff from the left: Gary Power, Jason Lough, Tracey Ashman, Keith Jagger, Les Cutts, Sarah Hitchen, Luke Alderson, Karl Gledhill, Marzena Galek, Carola Kitson and Bob Horner.
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Staff at Parfetts Cash & Carry proudly celebrated the first UK Employee Ownership Day.

The company has six branches, including the one at Shay Lane, Halifax, where more than 60 work.

In 2008 the Parfitt family sold 55 per cent of the shares which are now owned in an Employee Ownership Trust.

The Trust is committed to buying the remaining 45 per cent of the shares at a future date which will mean the business will have paid back a loan running into tens of millions.

Employees don’t own shares so they are not at risk if the business fails - other than losing their jobs.

Les Cutts, goods-in manager at Halifax, said staff have a voice through branch and central councils and have generous benefits.

“The people here now are working for the future of the company. It’s hard work but we are doing well,” said Les.

Jason Lock, general manager, said: “The easy and more profitable route for Parfett’s would have been to sell to a competitor. This way they have given staff protection for the future. We benefit while we are here.”

All the ownership is in one pool for the employees’ benefit. Instead of owning shares or dividends on shares, the benefit is in the way the business is run, the ability to have their say and receive an annual bonus.

A national conference was held in London to highlight employee ownership where the government announced guidance to help businesses move to the employee ownership model.