GREATER Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burham last night committed himself to a new drive to tackle low wages .

He and his Merseyside metro-Mayor counterpart Steve Rotheram announced a new charter to extend better pay and secure work and raise employment standards in companies across the North-West.

Their intervention followed a research study by the IPPR North which showed that 27 per cent of people in the North West earned less than the ‘real living wage ‘of £9 compared with 22 per cent in London.

The two Labour politicians made their pledge at a semiinar on ‘What Economic Justice means for the North West’ organised by the think-tank at Manchester’s Friends Meeting House.

Bolton West Conservative MP Chris Green dismissed their new charter as ‘gesture politics’.

The proposed charter will ujrge employers to pay of a real living wage, offer secure work, and improve employee representation.

It will also aim to increase diversity and equality in the region’s workplaces, promote flexible working and boost recruitment and progress opportunities. T

Many of the key points were among recommendations made from last year’s IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice

Mr Burnham said: “The North West is leading the way in improving employment standards. By working with trade unions, businesses and others, we are now implementing a Good Employment Charter in Greater Manchester which will deliver fair pay and secure work, and sit at the heart of our local industrial strategy. It shows that devolution is delivering for working people across both Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region. By working closely with our colleagues in Liverpool City Region, we can add greater weight and force to our efforts to create good, secure work for all of our residents.”

Mr Green said: “It’s easy for politicians to grandstand on every issue. We don’t need them to produce new charters which employers may see as a penalty rather than a boost.

“People do not need gesture politics from Andy Burnham but steps to make businesses to locate in Greater Manchester and Bolton and training to create the high-skilled high-pay jobs which will tackle the problem of low wages.”