A company which recycles unwanted bikes is giving pedal-power to people in Oxford by becoming a workers’ co-operative.

Under the new structure, the 11 full-time and part-time members of staff at the Cowley-based Oxford Cycle Workshop will become more than just another spoke in the business wheel, receiving equal pay and an equal say in business plans.

Dan Harris, a founder member of the co-operative, said: “Becoming a co-operative means everyone’s skills are appreciated and everyone has a stake in the success of the business.”

He explained that the workshop, based in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, with storage facilities at Redbridge Recycling Centre, aimed to recycle as many of Oxfordshire’s abandoned bikes as possible and promote cycling in the city.

He said: “We’re a bike shop and workshop with an environmental and ethical conscience.

“We recycle bikes destined for landfill, refurbish them and sell them back to members of the public, providing a green transport alternative for the city by reducing waste in the county.”

Oxford Cycle Workshop, which employees staff from as far afield as Scotland, Germany and the Czech Republic, was guided through the process of becoming a workers’ co-operative by Co-operative Futures.

The agency, funded by Midcounties Co-operative, encourages and supports firms to adopt the co-operative model and join the 5,000 jointly-owned, democratically-controlled UK businesses which – according to Co-operative Futures – turned over £27.4bn and employed 240,000 people last year.

Jim Pettipher, development director of Co-operative Futures, said: “There's never been a better time to be part of a co-operative. As the world's stock markets falter, the values of co-operatives – which are owned by workers rather than external share holders – have been largely unaffected by the financial crisis."

The move follows a buyout of the business by three staff members last year and the creation of a training division to the company, which is looking for new premises in the city.

Jonty Semper, who heads up the division, said: “We offer cycle maintenance workshops to members, guiding them through how to fix a puncture and care for their bikes.

“But we want to work with groups of disadvantaged people, like young offenders, and bundle together training courses with recognised qualifications like NVQs with basic skills training in literacy, numeracy and IT.

“All the training will be provided at our new learning facility.”