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Manchester businesses pledge to ban zero-hours contracts

Employers within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) are set to agree on a ban of zero-hours contracts as part of Manchester’s “Good Employment Charter”. Paying above the minimum wage will also be included in the charter.

Mayor Andy Burnham, has been the driving force behind the charter. The agreement is positioned to quell concerns over insecure work and in-work poverty.

Mr. Burnham said: “We want to support our world-leading businesses, helping them to grow and invest in our places, while at the same time making sure our residents develop the skills to succeed and find good, secure jobs that pay a real living wage.

“This Good Employment Charter is a major step towards making sure that new and existing jobs right across our city region are underpinned by a commitment to equality, fair pay, and giving employees a say in how their workplaces are run.”

Mancunian businesses have been identified as less productive than others in the UK, particularly in contrast to London and from an international perspective. The agreement aims to improve wages and the treatment of employees, amid concerns that much employment is too insecure to lift people out of poverty.

The charter is open to employers from all sectors, with Kellogg’s and Manchester Airports Group among its first signatories. Over 100 companies are in talks to sign the charter.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has established incentives for signing the charter – only companies that sign will be eligible for investment from the GM Business Fund, which has invested more than £116m in 100-plus businesses in recent years.

Duncan Brown, head of consulting at IES, said he welcomed initiatives such as the GMCA’s charter. “City employment initiatives are a great means of encouraging employers to provide good work and invest properly in their people rather than simply pursuing a lowest-possible cost – and sometimes short-sighted – employment model,” he said.

But unanswered questions remain, Brown, insists. “These include how best to align initiatives in various cities for national employers and also how the different charters will be validated and enforced, as well as the funding of good work in sectors such as social care.”

Tags: andy burnham, business, Good Employment Charter, IES, Manchester, Zero-hour contracts

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