Aardman on cue to sign up as first backer of region’s inaugural Good Employment Charter

July 29, 2022

The West of England’s first Good Employment Charter has been launched – with Bristol’s four times Academy Award-winning animation studio Aardman the first to pledge its support.

The project was kick-started this week by Metro Mayor Dan Norris as part of a push to develop good jobs, deliver opportunities for workers to progress and help local and regional employers succeed. 

Others firms and organisations already pledging their support include destination marketing organisation Visit West, which runs the Visit Bristol brand, Bristol’s Wake the Tiger ‘amazement park’, which opens this weekend, Bristol-based Service Robotics, which makes robots that help combat loneliness, and Bath software development company Storm.

The charter has been designed by trade unions, employers and employees from across Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire and has been launched at a time when more than 15% of workers across the region take home less pay than the Real Living Wage, while an estimated 111,000 in the wider South West are on zero-hours contracts.

Businesses receiving funding from the West of England Combined Authority, which is led by Mayor Norris, will also now be required to sign up to the charter. 

Metro Norris, pictured, said: “I’m delighted to see this manifesto pledge fulfilled. No matter what job you do, everyone deserves dignity at work, fair pay and secure work in a safe workplace with clear opportunities to progress and develop.

“I want to praise the brilliant employers we have in our region such as Aardman. Recognising those good employers and seeking to persuade everyone else to do the right thing is what this is all about.

“We know that employers who are best at properly supporting their employees are usually the most successful.

“So this a win-win for employers and employees. I welcome the employers that have started the journey with us today, and I’ve no doubt that many, many more will join them soon.” 

Aardman, which was founded in Bristol in 1976 and is best known for its Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit films, employs around 130 people in its Harbourside head office near the SS Great Britain and its studio at Aztec West.

It became entirely employee owned in 2018.

Aardman managing director Sean Clarke said: “We’re really pleased to support the Good Employment Charter and feel that improving employment standards is crucial for staff wellbeing, retention, engagement and productivity.

“Many policies such as the Real Living Wage and Secure Work have been in place for some time, which has already made a positive impact to the business.

“As an employee-owned business we are always looking to expand and improve engagement with the ‘partners’ in the studio and have various forums for partners to have a voice on the how the studio is managed and our business planning and priorities.

“Aardman is committed to providing a workplace where people and their ideas can really thrive. We believe that implementing these standards helps us to nurture our most important asset – our people – and ensures we are well placed to attract and retain our talent in an increasingly competitive talent market.”

The two tiers of the West of England Good Employment Charter are:

Tier 1: Supporters – working with aspiring organisations to help them take steps to improve their own practices, including through a personalised action plan, workshops and other events, raising employment standards across the whole region, to meet the requirements of accreditation.

Tier 2: Membership – requiring employers to demonstrate excellent practice in key characteristics of employment practice. These are:

  • Secure work;
  • Flexible work;
  • A real living wage;
  • Workplace engagement and voice;
  • Excellent recruitment practices and progression;
  • Excellent people management;
  • A productive and healthy workplace.

Employers interested in signing up to the West of England Good Employment Charter should contact: charter@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

Pictured at the Good Employment Charter launch at Aardman Animations: Front row, from left: Nigel Costley, regional secretary, TUC; Metro Mayor Dan Norris; Paula Newport from Aardman; Karen Cole of Unite. Back row: Sadie Fulton, TUC, Sean Clarke from Aardman, Mike Walker of USDAW, Matt Roberts of GMB, Andy Warnock of MU, and Carwyn Donovan from BECTU


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email info@bristol-business.net for more information.