Sheffield launches fair employer charter

Squires SharoncroppedTomorrow sees the launch of Sheffield’s Fair Employer Charter – the first of its kind in the country. It is an exciting, important day for the city that follows months of hard work behind the scenes by local businesses and city activists.

Unlike initiatives elsewhere, the charter has been developed by the private sector, with the likes of Gripple and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce instrumental in driving its direction and drawing up its terms.

Their involvement means that the charter has the needs of business in mind; it is a series of positive steps that work towards private sector objectives and also demonstrate the private sector commitment to building a fair and successful Sheffield.

That is why so many local organisations – 28 to date, many of whom are household names in Sheffield – have already recognised the benefit of the charter and signed up before it has even officially launched.

The idea for the Fair Employer Charter all started with the Sheffield Fairness Commission, which reported on ways to tackle inequalities across the city back in 2013.

Among the commission’s recommendations was the establishment of a voluntary ‘fair employer’ code to cover safe, fair and equitable working practices for all.

It recognised that issues like low pay, discrimination and wellbeing at work were affecting the lives of many Sheffielders, not to mention holding back the city’s economy and damaging its reputation.

Another recommendation was to create a campaign for fairness in Sheffield, so when we followed that up with the Our Fair City campaign, we made the Fair Employer Charter one of its key priorities.

The charter is now here and employers large and small are making firm commitments to instil fair working cultures, offer staff opportunities for personal growth, and aspire to exceed the living wage.

From Friday, employers in Sheffield will be able to sign up the charter online in a matter of minutes via the Our Fair City campaign website.

By doing so, they will be demonstrating their determination to provide a better environment for their employees, to operate ethically, and to help Sheffield lead the way.

In fact, we want Sheffield to become the fairest city in the country, so the Fair Employer Charter is just one of the ways that we are trying to achieve that vision.

There is no overnight fix for inequality and it obviously covers far more areas of life than work.

In particular, the Our Fair City campaign is also working on the issues of fair food, fair finance, fair housing and fair futures to highlight and address some of the most damaging injustices that affect thousands of people right across Sheffield.

Positive progress is being made, most notably with Sheffield Money, which is providing invaluable financial support to those on low incomes as an alternative to high-cost credit.

But in order to make a real difference and truly make Sheffield a fairer city, we need the support of everyday people and local businesses. Without them, the Fair Employer Charter and our other efforts can only do so much.

I am confident that over the next few months, the charter will go from strength to strength, with even more companies signing up and putting its principles into practice.

Hopefully other towns and cities will follow Sheffield’s example and work with their own business communities to deliver real change at a local level.



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