Article by Graham Whitham
GMPA is delighted to see Andy Burnham taking forward the idea of an employment charter for Greater Manchester. This is something we’ve been working on for some time through our joint paper with the Inclusive Growth Unit, our Work and Wages Special Interest Group (SIG) and through the GMPA hosted Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign.
An employment charter can both celebrate and promote existing good employers and encourage the adoption of positive employment practices by other employers. As a tool it has a role to play in helping to create a more inclusive economy where people are valued and secure in the job that they do.
Getting the charter right from the outset will be crucial in determining the impact it has. The scope and operation of the charter is something Andy Burnham’s team have been exploring and the Mayor has opened a consultation on what the proposed charter should look like. GMPA and the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign will be submitting a response (the deadline for responses is April 13th) and we’re encouraging members of our network to do the same, both from the perspective of being employers and as advocates for a more inclusive economy.
An evidence paper published to support the consultation recognises some of the challenges we face in Greater Manchester, around things like low pay and productivity. (The evidence paper can be downloaded from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website here). There are other areas where we fare worse than the national average, including employment rates for people aged 50 to 64 and people with learning disabilities. It also recognises some of the city region’s strengths and the potential for economic growth to be more closely linked to positive outcomes for individuals and communities.
The Charter will aim to complement existing initiatives at a local authority level, such as employer pledges and charters in Bolton, Oldham and Salford, and will be co-designed by local employers, employees and residents. It will also sit among a series of other policies that are focussed on creating a more inclusive economy.
During Living Wage Week in November, the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign hosted a series of workshops across GM looking at how an employment charter could work and what it might include. A number of key themes emerged from those workshops, including the need for clear standards for what ‘good employment’ means in Greater Manchester, a ‘good employment toolkit’ to support employers to amend and improve working practices and the active involvement of trade unions in workplaces. These themes will help inform our response.
Please make sure you take the opportunity to feed into this process.