Europe’s retailers must face up to quality jobs challenge in age of precarious work
New report highlights issues around new world of work in Europe’s retail sector as hundreds of commerce union leaders gather in Gdansk for European conference
Gdansk, Poland, 1 June: A report launched today underscores the range of challenges facing the commerce sector in Europe to deliver on decent work and quality jobs in a fast evolving market shot through with precarious work. The report, published by UNI Europa on the first day of its European Commerce Conference in Gdansk Poland, highlights non-standard forms of contract, including zero hours; and franchising as two key issues affecting the next generation of shop workers.
Referencing research suggesting retailers in Europe will create 4.3 million new jobs by 2025, the report says, “The worry isn’t the quantity of jobs; it is the quality of jobs.”
The report focuses on a number of trends for concern, including
- Precarious work – retail has traditionally a greater share of part-time jobs than other sectors in Europe. Research suggests that those part-time workers are among the marginalized in the workforce, such as migrants and women
- Zero hours/non standard forms of contract – it’s well documented that these contracts are often abusive and should be banned
- Franchising – expected growth of franchising is a potential threat to decent work as the franchises often offer less favourable terms of employment than the head corporation and often do not guarantee worker rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining
- E-commerce - online shopping is no longer a separate activity but is fully integrated into full shopping, ‘multichannel’ experience. This is likely to mean loss of some traditional jobs but increase in new kinds of work
UNI Europa’s Head of Commerce, Laila Castaldo, who is attending the meeting in Gdansk said, “The report reveals the complexity and the size of the challenge facing Europe’s commerce unions fighting for decent work. Collective bargaining is the key to stabilizing hours, wages and work conditions. We will not shirk this challenge and say clearly that zero hour contracts should be banned because they are in contradiction of the ILO’s decent work principles. In Gdansk we will come together to make sure that the ‘new world of work’ for retail workers means quality jobs.”
30 unions from 21 countries are coming together at the UNI Europa Commerce meeting in Gdansk between June 1-3.
UNI Europa, the European Services Workers’ Union
UNI Europa is the European trade union federation for 7 million service workers in sectors that constitute the backbone of economic and social life in Europe. Headquartered in the heart of Brussels, UNI Europa represents 272 national trade unions in 50 countries, including: Commerce, Financial Services, Gaming, Graphical and Packaging, Hair and Beauty, Information Technologies and Communication, Media, Entertainment and Arts, Postal Services and Logistics, Private Care and Social Insurance, Property Services: Industrial Cleaning and Private Security, Professional Sport and Leisure, Professionals/Managers and Temporary Agency Workers.
Elke Zander – UNI Europa Communications Officer
Tel: +32 2 234 56 48
Mob: +32 487 596 539