TUC: Industrial change can benefit communities when workers’ voices are involved

17 Jul 2019 11:30 AM

A report published recently (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.

Major changes to industry are expected from automation and the move to a low carbon economy. The local strategies can play a vital role ensuring a just transition to a green economy, and a fair share of the gains from automation for working people, says the TUC.

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
  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:

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady recently said:

“Automation, artificial intelligence and the need to decarbonise the economy are set to make sweeping changes to industry. But that must not mean communities being swept aside.

“When working people and communities are involved in making plans, industrial transformation can mean positive change.

“The main goal of local industrial strategies must be the creation of good jobs. And the foundation must be cooperation between government, industry and unions, with workers and communities taking part in making plans.”

New Economics Foundation Head of Work and Pay Alice Martin recently said:

“The UK has an appalling track record on managing industrial change in a fair and just way. Given the critical juncture we are at with climate change and accelerating automation, leaving impacts on UK jobs and industries to the whim of global market forces will only deepen existing divides and inequalities.

“It is important now more than ever that politicians take steps to understand the nuts and bolts of industrial change in practice, and how it can be shaped by the state, employers and unions representing the workers and communities affected.”

Editors note