Dozens of businesses launch new West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter at event with Mayor

The West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter was unveiled today (24 November) at an event at the University of Bradford by Mayor Tracy Brabin.

24 November 2023

Over 40 businesses and organisations have pledged to improve the quality of work in West Yorkshire, it can be announced.

The West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter was unveiled today (24 November) at an event at the University of Bradford by Mayor Tracy Brabin, to an audience of over 100 people.

The charter was developed in partnership with local employers, trade unions and the region’s political leaders. Those signing up have committed to meaningful action across five categories of “Fair Work”, to help build a thriving economy that provides better pay, conditions and opportunities for all.

The five categories ask local employers to provide “Opportunity”, “Security”, “Wellbeing”, “Fulfilment”, and a “Voice” to their employees.

The 45 employers who adopted the charter on the day of its launch include small, medium and large businesses such as Haribo, Suma Wholefoods, Huddersfield Town A.F.C, and the region’s five local authorities.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“West Yorkshire is a region of grafters, and hard work should always be rewarded with fair pay and conditions.

“This Charter was built by our workers, businesses and trade unions, who came together to show us what fair work looks like and set the standard for all employers in the region.

“I’m incredibly grateful to all the brilliant businesses who’ve joined us already, and I know that hundreds more will help us build a stronger, brighter region.”

The West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter aims to maximise the powers and funding devolved to the region, which allow for more tailored support for businesses to address low pay, improve access to good quality work, and promote skills and apprenticeships training to under-represented groups.

It follows similar charters in other Mayoral Combined Authority areas such as Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region. However, the West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter was specifically designed to be relevant and attractive to small and medium sized businesses, who make up 99% of employers in the region.

A simple online form allows businesses to self-enrol and will ensure every employer in the region can take a “positive first step” towards fairer work. In recognition of the challenges that many businesses are facing, employers who join the charter will gain access to a community of businesses benefitting from additional support with growth, productivity, and raising employment standards sustainably.

The Charter was developed in partnership with businesses and trade unions through a series of online surveys and in-person workshops, organised by a steering group appointed by the Mayor and spearheaded by Kate Hainsworth, CEO of the Leeds Community Foundation.

Kate Hainsworth, CEO of the Leeds Community Foundation and Chair of the West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter Steering Group, said:

“Working on the Mayor's charter with such dedicated and invested colleagues has been really challenging, and therefore the outcome is worthwhile and truly representative of what works for West Yorkshire’s employees and employers.

 “We learnt a lot from generous sharing by other charters, but mostly from businesses and individuals in our region. They told us plainly their experiences and hopes and listened hard to our aspiration and individuals’ stories.

 “From this, we've devised a model that is inclusive, welcoming businesses of all shapes, sizes, sectors and industries to join a collective drive for good jobs – providing security, fair pay and better prospects across West Yorkshire. 

 “I see in my day job the difference when someone can secure a job like that, after previously being in vulnerable employment. It's worth all our time to help achieve that difference, and all credit to the Mayor for seeing this through.”

 Liz Blackshaw, Regional Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Northeast, Yorkshire & the Humber, said:

“The TUC is delighted to have been a key partner in developing the West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter.

“I am excited by the possibilities this charter presents to engage positively with employers and employees to help raise employment standards for workers across the region. 

“The TUC is looking forward to collaborating with the Mayor and Fair Work Charter partners to effectively deliver on the aims and ambitions of this excellent initiative, which we believe will serve to create greater awareness of the benefits of Trade Union engagement for both employers and employees."

Sharon Jandu OBE, Founder of the Yorkshire Asian Business Association (YABA) and Director at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

 “Some incredible work has gone into the development of the Fair Work Charter.

“As an early adopter organisation we are fully behind the principles and values; it’s good for business, it’s good for the economy and positive action that promotes better pay and conditions with opportunities for all, and it’s good for employees and the community.”

 Fatima Khan-Shah, Inclusivity Champion for West Yorkshire, said:

 “I’m confident this Fair Work Charter will be a gamechanger for our communities in West Yorkshire – especially those dealing with barriers to fair and fulfilling work.

“I look forward to working with businesses of all shapes and sizes to untap the full potential of every one of our workers, taking our regional economy to the next level.”

More information about the West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter can be found here: