A call for the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, to establish a Good Jobs Commission to deliver the levelling up agenda has been made by Lee Barron, Regional Secretary of the TUC Midlands.
In a letter to Andy Street, it was highlighted that other devolved nations and English regions had undertaken similar initiatives and were powering ahead, and called on the West Midlands Mayor to use his political leadership to establish and drive a Good Jobs Commission in the West Midlands.
The call seeks to bring together partners such as Local Economic Partnerships, employers, academics, politicians and unions to ‘to develop a programme of work and roadmap to delivering better jobs and increased productivity and prosperity for the West Midlands’
In the letter, Lee Barron, goes on to say ‘if we are to level up, or build back better, we must outline what that looks like in reality and show our joint determination to deliver a regional economy that works for all.’
Full text of letter
During recent weeks and at the various political conferences during September, it has become clear that ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ following the pandemic is now at the top of the economic agenda. How we deliver is the challenge we now face. I know that the WMCA is forming a new Growth Board which involves the TUC, a move I support and look forward to continuing to work with you to build a better economy.
I am clear that if we are to genuinely level up, this must be done on the back of good, decent jobs and a new way of doing business. In all of the devolved nations and regions, work on good jobs is well advanced. In Scotland we have the fair jobs convention, in Wales social partnership, and all of the regions in England either have launched some jobs initiatives or are in the process of developing a strategy to deliver good jobs. In the West Midlands I believe we have a great opportunity to develop our own, and I also believe the political leadership exists to make it happen.
In light of that I would like us to join together, through a Good Jobs Commission of the WMCA, to focus on jobs in the recovery. I’d propose this working group would be led by you and local authority leaders from the West Midlands, and bring together LEPs, the TUC and academia who have and are currently dealing with this issue. Prof Chris Warhurst from the Institute of Employment Rights at Warwick University, for example, is currently advising the Northern Ireland Assembly on good work/jobs and contributed to the Taylor Review. I genuinely believe with that level of expertise within our region it gives us a real opportunity to develop and shape what good jobs look like and how we deliver them across the West Midlands. Given that much has been done in this space across the UK, we will be able to see what’s worked and what hasn’t and enable us to develop a programme of work and roadmap to delivering better jobs and increased productivity and prosperity for the West Midlands. Over the coming weeks we will be seeking a broad coalition to support a good jobs agenda for the West Midlands, and the wider Midlands Region as a whole. This will build on our report, A better recovery for the West Midlands, which we launched earlier this year.
I am sure that you share the same ambition, and I would very much like to meet with you and Cllr Brookfield to discuss a plan. If we are to level up, or build back better, we must outline what that looks like in reality and show our joint determination to deliver a regional economy that works for all.
Regional Secretary TUC Midlands
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