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Manchester’s Good Employment Charter

Last week, over 60 businesses in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority volunteered to refrain from using zero-hours contracts by signing up to the Good Employment Charter.

The Charter was created by the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. It aims to promote better working conditions, consultation with workers, and flexible working as well as more training and routes for progression. In addition to clarifying employees’ income and working hours, signatories are expected to pay their employees the UK living wage, which is higher than the statutory national living wage (the UK living wage is currently £9.00 an hour and the London Living Wage is £10.55 an hour). In addition, employers are expected to avoid using “unnecessary forms of insecure employment” such as temporary, zero hour or agency contracts.

The Good Employment Charter also stands to benefit employers who sign up, as they increase the liklihood of being awarded public procurement contracts in Greater Manchester given that the council may consider the social value of businesses tendering for public contracts. Further, signatories to the Charter will be eligible for investment from its GM Business Fund, which has invested more than £116m in 100-plus businesses over the last few years.

60 businesses in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority volunteered to refrain from using zero-hours contracts.

With 100 more potential signatories in negotiations to adopt the Good Employment Charter, there is speculation that the movement could pick up steam in light of the growing awareness around employees’ welfare. London has a Good Work Standard accreditation scheme and there are also similar good work charters in cities such as Derby, Birmingham and Liverpool. However, Manchester is leading the way with their Good Employment Charter being the most comprehensive scheme.

Whilst good work charters are popular with employees, it is up for debate as to whether employers outside of Manchester will follow suit and consider whether a scheme such as the Good Employment Charter could improve morale and productivity in their organisations.

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