Belfast Telegraph

Call to create Forum for Social Dialogue in Northern Ireland

As politicians gather today for talks to try to restore Stormont, Trade NI joined a call from trade unions to introduce a forum
As politicians gather today for talks to try to restore Stormont, Trade NI joined a call from trade unions to introduce a forum "to ensure space is created to allow parties to build confidence and work through issues" (stock photo)

A new Forum for Social Dialogue should be created in order to help politicians build a stable government in Northern Ireland, an umbrella body that represents three major business sectors here has said.

As politicians gather today for talks to try to restore Stormont, Trade NI joined a call from trade unions to introduce a forum "to ensure space is created to allow parties to build confidence and work through issues".

Trade NI is an alliance of three of the largest sectors of industry - Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster and Manufacturing NI.

In a joint statement, Trade NI said that "whilst it is for politicians and government to draft and agree a Programme for Government, we believe there is an important role for civic society".

"For us, the areas which can be usefully supported are on the evolving world of work and quality jobs; an industrial strategy, productivity, skills and training; ensuring the NI economy provides opportunities for those not currently in the workforce; and seeking post Brexit opportunities."

They added: "We think the Brexit experience in NI should be seen as a game changer.

"We can no longer have a situation whereby unions, employers' groups and others are expected to raise their voice about violence, Brexit etc, but then be ignored on other occasions."

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