By Miles Johnson
In a world where bankers and executives often argue that high pay is directly correlated with success and talent, Mondragon, the Basque workers co-operative, is proud to offer an alternative model.
Founded in 1956, with its roots in a technical college set up by a Catholic priest, the Mondragon Corporation is one of Spain’s top 10 largest companies by sales, with worker-owned businesses including the Eroski supermarket chain, banking, electrical domestic products and car parts manufacturing.
José María Aldecoa, Mondragon’s chairman, earns no more than eight times that of the lowest paid workers within the co-operative, making him probably one of Europe’s lowest paid corporate leaders weighted against sales.
At the same time, more than 90 per cent of Mondragon’s collective workers have salaries that are the same, or higher, than those working in equivalent companies.