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Metro Mayors for the North of England met yesterday (Tuesday) with Trade Unions representing workers across the North to agree an established way of working together on several issues, to ensure that the voices of workers are heard and that trades unions are welcomed as partners in the process of building the economy of the North.

The introductory discussion, attended by the newly elected Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin alongside Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for Liverpool City Region, representatives from the office of Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City Region and Jamie Driscoll, Metro Mayor of North of Tyne, was designed to share best practise and focus on specific areas for future collaboration.

In particular, these areas included:

  • Creating good employment in the North.
  • Building employment and skills systems to offer workers opportunities to get work and get on at work.
  • Tackling inequalities at work and in society.
  • Building partnerships around investments and job creation.
  • Tackling the climate emergency and creating a Just Transition to Green Jobs.

Co-ordinating this work alongside Metro Mayors will be the TUC in the North, represented by its three regions – Northern, Yorkshire and Humber and the North West, all of whom were present at the meeting and led on topic discussions.

TUC North West Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:

“Tackling inequality is top of the agenda for trade unions and metro mayors in the North. It is right we should be sharing best practice to make sure that when we develop policies, projects and make investment decisions, we think about how they can be used to put right the problems caused by austerity and underinvestment in our communities over the last decade.

“Good work and fair work is the best route out of poverty, so spreading good practice and promoting good employment is at the heart of tackling inequality too.”

TUC Northern Regional Secretary Beth Farhat said:

“Mayoral Combined Authorities across the North will play a crucial role in the coming years in developing regional infrastructure.

“Where we have any infrastructure investment, we want to see partnership work with trade unions to ensure that every investment programme comes with an Olympics-style framework agreement with unions so that decent pay, good working conditions, sustainable jobs and union engagement are the norm.”

TUC Yorkshire and Humber Regional Secretary Bill Adams said:

“Unions and metro mayors agreed yesterday that training and skills is a real issue as the economy restarts from the Covid pandemic, with tens of thousands of workers across the North needing new opportunities to return to new jobs. This need will grow as we move to a green economy as workers retrain and get the new skills they need.

“As the government ends funding for Unionlearn, mayors across the North will work closely with unions to provide the necessary continuation of training opportunities for workers. It makes sense for the recovery, for workers and companies, and the well-being of the Northern economy.”

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