Today I spoke to Vladimir Lennon, who runs a rather unusual company in Manchester.
Me: So tell me, Mr Lennon, what is so unusual about your company?
VL: Well, we are the first democratically run company in the UK, along the principles of socialism. We don't have bosses, we all take part in making decisions.
Me: How many people are there in your company? And how does the decision making work?
VL: There are 400 people. We were a successful company manufacturing pins, and when I inherited the company from my uncle, I decided to change the way it was run to match my ideology. So every morning we all get together and vote on what to do that day. Most days we vote to work but on Tuesday we all voted to play foosball. That was a bit of a problem because our foosball table was broken, so we went out and bought 10 new ones.
Me: So did much work get done that day?
VL: No, but we had fun. It's important to look after the workers.
Me: I heard you also have very generous benefits for your employees.
VL: That's right. Everyone gets 40 days holiday a year, and if you're ill then you get full pay and you don't need a doctor's note. Actually a few of our employees have since developed a very rare disease that renders them unable to leave their house, so we look after them. We're a caring company.
Me: Are the workers well paid?
VL: Yes, very well. Every month we vote if we're going to give everyone a pay rise or not, and would you believe it they haven't voted not to have a pay rise yet. Even the office cleaner earns over £100,000.
Me: So are you making profit?
VL: Oh no, we're massively in debt. I can't understand it. Lennon Pins Ltd were profitable every year from our founding in 1923, but since I took over our bank balance has gone negative. But as a socialist I don't care about profit, only about the happiness of the workers.
Me: Don't you think you should be doing something about the company's debt?
VL: Yes, actually we're about to change our method of working. Instead of distributing the labour during pin production, we're going to have each worker make a whole pin from start to finish. That's bound to improve the efficiency.
Me: Mr Lennon, thank you.