Jim Armitage: Firms work better when the feeling's mutual

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The Independent Online

Outlook Forget about what Thomas Jefferson & Co were up to in 1776. Today, the 4th of July, we should be rejoicing in the first UK Employee Ownership Day.

Such newly minted "days" are baloney, of course, but Vince Cable, whose brainchild this one seems to be, is right to draw attention to the John Lewis model of doing business and he wants more firms to adopt it.

He will be visiting the HQ of engineering partnership Arup, where UK, Middle East and Asia chief Robert Care will be evangelising the benefits. The likeable Aussie is a pretty good ad for mutuality himself : bar a brief stint working for the government in Canberra, he's been with the firm since 1977. He says staff work harder, co-operate more, and don't tend to get poached by rivals if they feel they have a real stake and say in how the business works.

Dr Cable will announce plans for tax incentives and initiatives to make it easier to join the mutual gang. Employers, take note.