The East Antrim Assembly Member said: “Alliance alone has called for a ‘Business Forum’ which would include employees’ representatives and further education institutions. Employees must be made central to any economic development strategy, as was noted in the Republic of Ireland’s “Social Partnership” model, because they will be the people primarily responsible for delivering the wealth creation we need.
“A Business Forum is essential to help us build the sustainable economic development that Northern Ireland needs and local people deserve.
“Also, a good labour relations record is, in itself, is a key factor in the promotion of investment and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. We have a relatively good labour relations record compared to our neighbours – we must make it better and then use it as a key reason that people should consider investing and setting up businesses here.
“By demonstrating excellent labour relations we can entice foreign investment to Northern Ireland and can create more high-skill and high-value jobs locally.
“Finally, no issue can be addressed in Northern Ireland without also tacking the costs of segregation – the workplace is generally the least segregated place in Northern Ireland, but we all know there are areas of work where segregation, including “secret segregation”, remains the norm. This must be addressed to build a stronger local economy and a genuinely shared future.”