PROFIT-SHARING AT PORT SUNLIGHT.
Another big co-partnership scheme is announced. Large employers of labour are seemingly beginning to believe that it pays to give their employees a share in the business, and thus, by turning them into capitalists on a small scale, use them as a bulwark against growing demands of trades unionism and the socialistic spirit of national control. The latest scheme is one of the most comprehensive systems of profit-sharing that has yet been framed in England. Its author is Mr W. H. Lever, M.P.. of Sunlight soap fame, who outlined the details of his project yesterday at Port Sunlight.
Mr Lever, subject to the approval of the shareholders next month, proposes to create £500,000 worth of partnership certificates, the holders of which will receive 5 per cent, less than Mr Lever himself receives on his ordinary shares. Iv other words, after the preference dividends have been paid, and after Mr Lever receives an initial 5 per cent, on his ordinary holding, thtse new partnership certificates, representing all ranks of service, from the director and the manager to the humble employee with a weekly wage, will rank pari passu with Mr Lever's own holding. To that extent, therefore, the new project may be roughly said to mean the allocation to his workers of the interest on half a million sterling of deferred ordinary shares. The holders of these share certificates must be 25 years of age and over, and must have completed five years' satisfactory service with the company. Women are equally eligible with men. About 1130 employees I will be eligible for shares.
As to dividends. Mr Lever explained that if during 1909 they were able to pay |10 per cent, on the ordinary shares (ail >of which are held by Mr Lever himself), 5 per cent, would first of all go to these ordinary shores, and the remaining 5 per cent, would go equally to the ordinaries and to the partnership certificates. Men who retired at 05 and women who retired at the age of 60. would have the opportunity of converting their holdings into 5 per cent, preferential certificates on a certain basis, and these preferential certificates would be continued to men's widows bo long as they remained widows. If a woman married aeain, her income from them ceased. When a man voluntarily left the service of the firm he. of course, ceased to be a partner, and it had also been arranged that flagrant misconduct should bring the partnership to an end. The maximum nominal amount of partnership certificates issued to the various grades of officials and employees will be as under:— Where annual salary is £750 or upwards £3000 Where annual salary is between £500 and £750 " 2000 where annual salary is between £300 and £500 " 1200 Where annual salary is between I £200 and £300 " 800 Where annual salary is between £100 and £200 " 400 Where annual salary is less than £100 ." 200 A point on which Mr Lever lays emphasis is that the holding of partnership certificates will involve no money liability whatever. The holders will not be called upon to pay a single penny, but, on the other hand, the certificates will not be negotiable, and no money can be borrowed upon them. The progress of this big scheme will be watched with interest by other firms in all parts of the world, and if it proves workable there is little doubt that it will be reproduced in other trades.
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