A poll commissioned by the Co-operative Party has shown huge public support for a Co-operative Party plan that would require large firms to share profits with staff.  76% of the more than 2000 people polled supported such an idea, with just 8% opposing it.

Under the plans, which were part of the Co-operative Party’s 2015 Agenda for Britain, firms with 50 or more employees would be required to set up a profit-sharing scheme, distributing 5% of their profits among employees. If such a provision was introduced, supermarket staff and high street employees could look forward to an extra £1,200 per year, according to calculations by the House of Commons Library.

Labour and Co-operative MP Gareth Thomas has introduced a 10 minute rule bill into Parliament to promote the measure, with his ‘ Profit-sharing and Company Governance (Employees Participation)’ set to be debated by MPs on 26th January.

As reported in last week’s Independent on Sunday, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is also considering the idea, and it will be part of a review of employment rights being undertaken by the Party. In a speech at a co-operative conference in Manchester on Thursday, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell endorsed the idea of extending to employees the ‘right to own’, another idea proposed in the Co-operative Party’s 2015 manifesto.

Commenting on the findings, Co-operative Party Chair Gareth Thomas said:

“My Bill would help to ensure that the lessons from some of Britain’s most successful businesses are embedded in every company, seeing profits and power are shared, as they are in employee owner businesses like John lewis.

Most people have seen little change in their pay packet over the last decade, whilst income at the very top has soared. Employees at all levels of a business should enjoy fairer rewards from the profits their hard work creates.

Giving employees a greater say and ensuring that everyone has an incentive to drive up profits boosts productivity – where Britain lags far behind other G7 countries.

In short, we need to champion a shared economy which promotes long term business growth and profitability, places more value on the work of all staff, and ensures power isn’t just the preserve of the highest paid.”

Co-operative Party General Secretary, Claire McCarthy, who commissioned the polling, added:

“Britain is in desperate need of a pay rise, with workers facing the longest decline in living standards in a generation. We need an economy where everyone has a stake, with the benefits of success fairly shared.

With Co-operative MPs including Gareth Thomas leading the way, we’ll be working to ensure that ideas from our 2015 manifesto, including profit sharing and employee ownership, are central to Labour’s vision for a new economy.”

The poll, which was carried out by polling firm Populus, on behalf of the Party, was based on a weighted sample of the UK public. The question asked was:

“In France, every company with 50 or more employees is required to share profits with their employees. This means that where businesses make significant profits, employers are required to pay a portion of these profits to all their employees. To what extent would you support or oppose the Government introducing compulsory profit sharing like this in the UK?”