Under the bed buyout

Listening to Norman Watson at our Autumn Forum here in Manchester. He has been a pioneer of employee buyouts, where the workforce can take control of enterprises as a cooperative.

One of the businesses Norman worked on was Tower Colliery which from 1995 became the largest worker cooperative in Wales. Miners used their redundancy, or some took personal loans from the Co-operative Bank, to invest £8,000 each to buy the mine and run it together. Some brought the money in on the Saturday afternoon in cash and given that the Coop Bank had closed at lunchtime, the cash was kept under a bed until the Monday morning.

All too often, he says, “people don’t know what a co-operative is, true, but they have a fair idea of what it could be.”

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