Aardman first to sign up to Metro Mayor’s Good Employment Charter

The West of England’s first-ever Good Employment Charter has been launched by Metro Mayor Dan Norris (27 July) as part of a push to develop good jobs, deliver opportunities for workers to progress and help local and regional employers succeed.

First to sign up is the world famous, four times Academy Award winning animation studio Aardman. Others already pledging their support include Visit West as well as Bristol’s Wake the Tiger, Bath’s Storm and Stoke Gifford’s Service Robotics.

The Charter has been designed by trade unions, employers and employees from across Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire.

Local firms big and small will be supported by the West of England Combined Authority, led by the Metro Mayor, to raise standards across a number of areas, including regarding recruitment and worker engagement, with a two-tier approach to help them progress.

The two tiers of the West of England Good Employment Charter are:

Tier 1: Supporters – working with aspiring organisations to help them take steps to improve their own practices, including through a personalised action plan, workshops and other events, raising employment standards across the whole region, to meet the requirements of accreditation.

Tier 2: Membership – requiring employers to demonstrate excellent practice in key characteristics of employment practice. These are:

• Secure work;
• Flexible work;
• A real living wage;
• Workplace engagement and voice;
• Excellent recruitment practices and progression;
• Excellent people management;
• A productive and healthy workplace.

Businesses receiving funding through the West of England Combined Authority’s investment funds will also now be required to become Charter supporters, confirmed the Metro Mayor.

Currently more than 15% of West of England workers take home less pay than the Real Living Wage, while an estimated 111,000 in the wider South West are on zero-hours contracts.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “I’m delighted to see this manifesto pledge fulfilled. No matter what job you do, everyone deserves dignity at work, fair pay and secure work in a safe workplace with clear opportunities to progress and develop. I want to praise the brilliant employers we have in our region such as Aardman. Recognising those good employers and seeking to persuade everyone else to do the right thing is what this is all about. We know that employers who are best at properly supporting their employees are usually the most successful. So this a win-win for employers and employees. I welcome the employers who have started the journey with us today, and I’ve no doubt that many, many more will join them soon”.

The Mayor hailed Aardman as a model good employer when he visited it along with representatives from the region’s trade unions this week. Aardman, which became entirely employee owned in 2018, is working towards full member accreditation in the next 12 months.

Aardman Managing Director Sean Clarke said: “We’re really pleased to support the Good Employment Charter and feel that improving employment standards is crucial for staff wellbeing, retention, engagement and productivity. Many policies such as the Real Living Wage and Secure Work have been in place for some time, which has already made a positive impact to the business.

“As an Employee-owned business we are always looking to expand and improve engagement with the ‘partners’ in the studio and have various forums for partners to have a voice on the how the studio is managed and our business planning and priorities. Aardman is committed to providing a workplace where people and their ideas can really thrive. We believe that implementing these standards helps us to nurture our most important asset – our people – and ensures we are well placed to attract and retain our talent in an increasingly competitive talent market”.

Susan Clews, Chief Executive of Acas, said: “ I am delighted to welcome the launch of the West of England Good Employment Charter. It rightly sets a high bar for working practices for all businesses to aspire to. Even in these challenging times, we have a responsibility to build sustainable growth based on security and safety, with employee voice and wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. Providing good work is not only the right thing to do; it makes good business sense. Research shows a positive correlation between good work and increased workplace productivity, and crucially, an even greater correlation between poor work and poor productivity. It will be those who put their employees first who will thrive most in the post-pandemic world.

“This good work initiative is made by local people, for local people, and that’s why I am confident that it will make a positive difference. I strongly encourage all employers across the West of England to begin their good employment journey today and commit to boosting job quality. In partnership with trade unions, employees and fellow businesses, we can showcase what the region has to offer. Acas has a vast range of resources available and stands ready to support organisations to work towards the Charter’s seven key pledges.”

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