TUC: Devolution can offer an opportunity as industrial change takes effect

17 Jul 2019 11:30 AM

New report considers lessons for UK from industrial transformation in Bilbao, Eindhoven and Iceland. Communities must be in control of change resulting from automation and decarbonising the economy, says TUC.

A report published yesterday (Monday) by the TUC, based on research conducted by the New Economics Foundation, looks at successful models for industrial transformation at local level. 

The government intends that each part of the UK should be covered by a local industrial strategy by early 2020.  

But as major changes to industry are expected, from automation and the move to a low carbon economy, the TUC in the North West is saying that local strategies can help ensure any transition for workers is just – ensuring that they get a fair share as industries change, whether through automation or in growing sectors.  

The report provides partners such as local government, local enterprise partnerships, business and trade unions with evidence and ideas to help make their local industrial strategies successful. 

It identifies four critical factors for successful industrial transformation that genuinely benefits communities: 

  1. People feel secure and have a genuine stake in their local area 
  2. Working people have a meaningful role in decision-making  
  3. A realistic sense of long-term opportunity and social mobility in the locality 
  4. Positive engagement between government, unions and business 

And it recommends steps for national government, local government and employers to take that will enable local industrial strategies to be successful, including: 

This builds on work being done across the North West, to ensure that jobs in the region are good quality. The TUC and unions have been working with Metro-Mayors and local authorities to ensure the spread of good employment standards through employment charters that are due to be launched.  

TUC Regional Secretary Jay McKenna yesterday said: 

“Everyone is expecting big changes, from automation, artificial intelligence and the need to decarbonise the economy. But that cannot mean workers lose out and are left behind.  

“We want to create a minimum standard for jobs already in the region and those that might be created. We’re doing that now, working with Metro-Mayors and developing Employment Charters. Looking at the visitor economy in Liverpool City Region, it’s growing, supporting over 57,000 jobs. These staff are the face of many employers but are amongst the lowest paid. These improved standards would raise the quality of work for thousands.  

 “The principle goal of local industrial strategies must be the creation of good jobs. And we can do this by using the resources at our disposal better. We can aggregate public sector spending power, and that of other anchor institutions, to help improve standards and create jobs. That cooperation between government, local or national, industry and unions, with workers and communities taking part in making plans can have a real positive impact.” 

Notes to editors: 


Jay McKenna 
07788 414578 
0151 482 2710 

TUC press office 
020 7467 1248 

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