Unions discuss devolution in Manchester

Briefing in Mechanics Centre. Stained glass windows depict worker scenes relating to individual trade unions. ©Private

Up to thirteen different unions with members in the public sector took part in a briefing on devolution for Greater Manchester. The event was hosted by the TUC at the Mechanics Centre in Manchester city centre on Friday.

Chaired by Lynn Collins, TUC North West Regional Secretary, speakers addressed devolution from local, regional and national union perspectives. Speakers included Paul Novak, TUC Assistant General Secretary; Pat McDonagh, UNISON Manchester Branch Secretary, and Steve Stott, UNISON North West Regional Manager.

Morning workshops sought to formulate questions around the setting of priorities, decision-making and the deployment of resources, including within services such as further education, adult and community learning and trade union education.

Afternoon workshops were sector focused and a dedicated education sector workshop considered the impact of change brought on by local autonomy, including accessibility, quality and specialisation. This issue is of particular importance as further education colleges are already subject to area reviews.

The event also acknowledged the importance of skills delivery on wider service quality and on productivity in all sectors in terms of workforce development.

Lynn Collins said:

"It's great to see so many different sectors and services represented today which demonstrates the level of union engagement in this issue, and though we might not produce all the answers at this event we have certainly framed some key questions to take forward as workers and as citizens".