Browse by sector - Commerce
30 August 2012: Retail workers’ erratic hours and pay highlighted by union report (Ireland / Information update)
Research by Ireland’s Mandate Trade Union suggests that high levels of working time flexibility are being demanded of retail workers. A survey conducted on behalf of the union, which represents 45,000 retail workers, found that over half were employed on part-time contracts and that their working hours were subject to frequent change. In addition, 39% of respondents reported a significant dip in take-home pay over the past year, with the average fall being €109 per week.
16 August 2012: New businesses failing to reach safety standards (Slovakia / Information update)
During 2011, Slovakia’s Labour Inspectorate carried out checks on working conditions and occupational safety and health across a number of new organisations, and detected widespread deficiencies in the field. During the checks in the wholesale and retail sectors, construction industry and the hotel and catering sector, inspectors provided consultancy, insisted employers eliminate problems that were discovered and, in some cases, imposed financial penalties.
03 August 2012: Sweden: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Sweden / National Contribution)
The retail sector is one of Sweden’s largest industries and of growing importance for the country’s economy. Contractual arrangements, particularly those concerning part-time/full-time employment, are a recurrent issue in sectoral debates. Women to a greater extent than men have part-time contracts and also temporary employment contracts more often. Women also have worse working conditions according to surveys, and both men and women have difficulties to disconnect from work and feel unsecure at work from time to time. Violence, threats and robbery is a growing concern for employees, social partners and public agencies in the retail sector, and a constant issue in bargaining rounds and sectoral debates.
31 July 2012: Latvia: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Latvia / National Contribution)
The commerce sector, in which 50.5% of value added and 60.9% of employment is retail trade, has become the second largest sector in terms of value added and the largest sector in terms of employment. The main employers are large commercial chains. In 2010, 70% of employers worked full time and 86% were temporary workers. 82% of employees were women. 61.4% were younger than 45 years old. These figures are typical for the retail trade. Career perspectives and employment security are better in large enterprises. The health and well-being of workers and security of work environment is ensured by the national working protection system.
31 July 2012: Ireland: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Ireland / National Contribution)
This CAR outlines trends in employment and working conditions in the retail sector in Ireland as of July 2011, focusing on the impact of the deep-rooted financial and economic crisis that continues to grip the country. Intensified competition was already a factor in the retail sector prior to the crisis and falling consumer demand and spending capacity has forced many employers in the retail sector in Ireland to reassess their industrial relations and human resource policies. The result for many employees has been deterioration in working conditions: notably rising unemployment, overall job insecurity, pay freezes, stress, work intensification, and the prospect of wide-ranging changes to existing sectoral regulations setting a minimum floor on pay and terms and conditions of employment.
31 July 2012: Greece: Working conditions in the retail sector (Greece / National Contribution)
In the middle of the financial crisis, it is a confirmed fact that the trade sector is one of the most important sectors of the Greek economy, which contributes significantly to the development of employment in Greece. From 1993 to 2008, trade was the primary employment sector, as the other two important sectors in which employment is concentrated, namely agriculture and manufacture, have been recording a severe decrease in the number of employees. The retail trade sector holds a significant share of employees in the trade sector (68.0%, followed by wholesale trade at 20.7% and the sector of vehicles trade, maintenance and repair). In 2010, the employment in retail trade decreased by 2.8% compared to 2009, a percentage that corresponds to 58% of the total decrease in employment in the trade sector.
31 July 2012: Netherlands EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Netherlands / National Contribution)
Based on the Netherlands Working Condition Survey (NWCS), this report exaines working conditions in the retail sector in the Netherlands. It concludes that the retail sector is a sector in which many young employees work. These employees often work part-time and have a temporary contract. The retail sector does worse on the traditional ergonomic risk factors, but generally better on the psychosocial risks, with the exception of unwanted behaviour from third parties (i.e. not colleagues but clients, patients, passengers etc.). Intimidation, bullying as well, such as physical violence by third parties are overall more common in the Dutch retail sector. Age discrimination is also more common in retail. This is also reflected by the actions taken by the government and the social parties that for a large part focus on the reduction of violence and crime in the sector.
31 July 2012: Lithuania: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Lithuania / National Contribution)
The last decade witnessed a consolidation trend in the retail sector in Lithuania. The retail sector employs around 14% of the employed in Lithuania. In fact, there has been no research conducted in Lithuania to enable objective assessment of working conditions in the retail sector. However, some indirect sources (press publications, trade unions’ views, information provided by the State Labour Inspectorate) suggest that working conditions in this sector are seen as worse than average.
31 July 2012: Estonia: EWCO CAR on working conditions in the retail sector (Estonia / National Contribution)
Over the last 10 years the commerce sector has been the second biggest employer in Estonia – 14% of the labour market is occupied by the commerce sector. The retail sector (commerce sector except wholesale and retail of motor vehicles) forms 65% of the commerce sector. However the retail sector is mostly represented by the social partners along the wholesale sector, thus the following information is provided for the whole commerce sector if there is no data available for the retail sector specifically. The structure of the retail sector has not had major changes over last 10 years. Over the past 10 years the legislation concerning the commerce sector has been mainly modified according to the European Union directives.
31 July 2012: Slovakia: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Slovakia / National Contribution)
Working conditions in the sector are not considered problematic and are not a matter of present public policy. Employment conditions, labour relations and collective bargaining are regulated by the Labour Code and other related legislation. Employers in the sector usually respect the provisions of Labour Code concerning working time, opening hours and overtime work limits. Deviations from standard working time, overtime limits and related bonuses are usually agreed with employee representatives in company collective agreements. At present, low wage level and employment security are considered as the most serious problems in the sector. An increase in aggressive behaviour of customers is reported and the number of cases where salesmen in retail shops are monitored by video cameras is growing, too.
31 July 2012: Portugal: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Portugal / National Contribution)
The retail sector has been in focus in the national debate, namely regarding working time and opening hours. However, an analysis of working conditions in the retail sector in Portugal would point to the need for further information. Data from official statistics is relatively scarce, and there are very few recent studies on this topic. The government and social partner initiatives are centred on the improvement and development of the qualification of the SMEs, namely in the retail sector, in order to increase productivity. Social partner initiatives are also directed at the promotion of the health and well-being of the workers in the retail sector.
31 July 2012: Norway: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Norway / National Contribution)
Over the past decade there have been major changes in the retail trade market, and one of the most pronounced trends is the mergers and close cooperation between companies. Another major trend is the labor changing from mainly full-time employees to an extensive use of part-time employees. While musculoskeletal disorders are prevalent in retail trade, the industry has a one of the lowest incidence of mental disorders. Being one of the priority areas for the government and the social partners, several measurements and legislations have been imposed in order to reduce involuntary part-time working and to ensure a healthier and safer working environment.
31 July 2012: Luxembourg: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Luxembourg / National Contribution)
The commerce sector has experienced increases in employment, despite the economic crisis of 2008-2009, and it is anticipated that more shopping centres will be opening in the next two years. With the exception of an industrial dispute in relation to shop opening times, between the sector’s employer organisation and its two main unions OGBL and LCGB, the topic of working conditions is not the subject of social dialogue or research - in fact data are very rare. Also collective bargaining is weak in the sector, with the exception of that found in a number of hypermarket or supermarkets.
31 July 2012: Austria: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Austria / National Contribution)
Analyzing the retail sector in Austria means looking at one of the country’s key sectors in terms of employment. Overall, the sector of wholesale and retail trade is Austria’s second largest employer (24% of employees), with half of its workers employed in retail. Dealing with working conditions in this sector thus means looking at a substantial part of the Austrian workforce. With women making up the vast majority of employees in the sector, the view on employment trends, career progression and well-being at work of special interest.
31 July 2012: Denmark: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Denmark / National Contribution)
Research show that Danish retail workers overall face relatively hard working conditions compared to other job groups when it comes to both physical and psycho-social risk factors. Research does however also show that the working conditions vary significantly with different job profiles in the retail sector. Workers in special shops tend to have more favorable working conditions compared to workers in supermarkets. On an aggregated basis retailers do however tend to be more exposed to harassment and negative behavior and face lower levels of skills.
31 July 2012: Czech Republic: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Czech Republic / National Contribution)
Working conditions in the retail sector rank among the worst in the Czech economy in terms of contractual arrangements, working hours, remuneration as well as employees’ qualification enhancement. Unsatisfactory conditions are shown particularly in the global retail chains which increase their competitiveness through pressure on employees’ flexibility. Trade unions strive to establish a dialogue with employers in the commerce sector; nevertheless, there is a certain reluctance arising from their strong economic standing.
30 July 2012: Malta: EWCO CAR on working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Malta / National Contribution)
The retail sector in Malta has lately been featuring more in the limelight due to new investments in the sector and the introduction of changes and new notices in its legal structure. Legislative changes are currently ongoing, with particular emphasis to health and safety issues. The sector is made up of different types of employment contracts, the most popular ones being indefinite full-time contracts. Ecommerce and on-line shopping is on the increase, which brings along with it new job opportunities and career paths. Research in the sector is very limited as is representation by unions.
30 July 2012: Romania: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Romania / National Contribution)
Commerce in general, and retail trade in particular, followed a spectacular upward trend in the time span between 2000 and 2009, both in terms of number of retail trading companies and aggregate turnover, and in terms of employment and number of employees. The crisis years that followed the upsurge, 2009–2011, slowed down investment in development and reduced the number of employees. A prominent feature of this process is the decrease of the number of small and medium 'corner' retail traders, most of them swallowed up by hyper- and supermarkets. Also growing, in the past decade, was the average salary of retail workers, although it is still below the national average. More than one third (38%) of the persons employed in the retail sector claim that they are exposed to at least one risk factor at the workplace. The actions undertaken by the new employers and the state authorities do not seem to explicitly address the issue of securing better working conditions for the employees.
30 July 2012: Spain – EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Spain / National Contribution)
The Spanish commerce sector follows a negative employment evolution over the last years. 63% of the occupied personnel in the retail sector are women; innaddition, the proportion of young workers and the percentage of employed persons with part-time contracts is higher than the average for the total economy in Spain. On the other hand, work-related diseases and accidents are lower than the average, although stress levels are higher. Concerning the legal framework, regulations are extensively developed by the Autonomous Communities, and there exists a big controversy with regard to working time arrangements, especially between small establishments and large superstores or franchising chains.
30 July 2012: Hungary: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Hungary / National Contribution)
This report summarises the rather limited information available about working conditions in the retail – mostly rather in commercial – sector in Hungary. Data about basic employment statistics, wage statistics and legal frame are described, but important issues such as psychological stress or training opportunities could not be outlined in detail. However, the work of the Committee of Commercial Sector Dialogue, a well-functioning coordination body with many activities and useful information, is discussed.
30 July 2012: Bulgaria: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Bulgaria / National Contribution)
Although there is a clear tendency of turnover decreasing in the retail trade during the period January 2009 - June 2010 the slumps in the sector cannot be compared with those in industry and construction. Therefore, the loss of jobs in the sector is much less acute than in the industrial sectors. One of the negative consequences of the crisis, however, is the deepening of the problem with the informal employment and non-payment in full of taxes and social insurance contributions – one of the survival strategies for the small business sector. This naturally affects the working conditions and pay and is reflected in the intensification of labour of employees with lower job security.
30 July 2012: Germany: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Germany / National Contribution)
The retail sector is a main employer and provider of initial vocational training. Training and job profiles have been modernised to ease career paths and health risks are addressed by a sector-related organisation. Yet, the sector is marked by the growth of marginal part-time work and outsourcing practices. Due to a decrease in collective bargaining coverage, there is a considerable segmentation in wages and working conditions. Gender hierarchies persist.
30 July 2012: UK: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (United Kingdom / National Contribution)
The retail sector in the UK is the largest in the UK, employing 2.8 million workers and 9% of all VAT registered businesses. The workforce is predominantly young (one third of the workforce is under 24) and relies on part-time and flexible work. There are widely acknowledged skills gaps in the sector and barriers to female and part-time staff in reaching management positions. Retail crime has declined over the last 10 years although verbal abuse remains a threat to workers in the sector. Government initiatives in the sector are targeted at improving skills through the sectoral skills council and streamlining regulation for retailers. Unions are active in running campaigns to improve the working conditions in the sector although their scope is usually limited to larger employers.
30 July 2012: Italy - EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector – National contribution (Italy / National Contribution)
Over the past 20 years the retail sector has undergone extensive restructuring: large distribution chains achieve a dominant position in the sector by making extensive use of non-standard labour contracts, especially part-time. Administrative social security files give information about both employment and wages, while only a few surveys on working conditions were carried out just in large distribution chains. However, the social partners have put in place a network of bipartite bodies in order to manage training, health and safety at work, by including SMEs.
23 June 2010: Case study examines working conditions of women in large retail chains (Poland / Information update)
The KARAT gender equality coalition of organisations and individuals has conducted a case study on working conditions and the observance of workers’ rights among female employees in supermarkets and hypermarkets. The research explored and identified the areas and most frequents forms in which workers’ rights were infringed, as well as looking at labour law in practice. Violations concerning working time and health and safety regulations were reported.
22 December 2008: More jobs but less employment security in retail sector (Greece / Information update)
A report by the National Confederation of Greek Traders presents an analysis of the main features of employment in the wholesale and retail trade sector. Although the sector remains attractive for working women and young people, the research reveals that the number of permanent jobs among young employees has declined in 2007, compared with the previous year. This is mainly due to an increase in the number of temporary employment positions.
17 March 2008: Relationship between ICT workers and trade unions (Portugal / Information update)
Even in sectors with a strong trade union presence, such as financial services, telecommunications and retail trade, most workers dealing with information and communication technologies (ICT) in Portugal – such as clerks and call centre operators – are not or have no desire to be union members. This is a finding of research into such workers, which argues that new and all-inclusive collective bargaining practices covering all types of employment contracts would be desirable for these workers.
12 November 2007: Retail outlets in breach of health and safety laws (Poland / Information update)
The Polish media recently reported on the flagrant disrespect for the labour rights of persons employed in the retail trade. The majority of the objections related to non-compliance with health and safety legislation, as reflected in the results of investigations carried out by the National Labour Inspectorate in 2006. The inspectors give a number of reasons for the violations found, while employers cite lack of financial resources and overly complicated regulations.
23 July 2007: Earnings of older employees lagging behind (Czech Republic / Information update)
On average, employees aged over 50 years are paid less than their younger colleagues, according to a recent survey conducted by the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs. The structure of pay and wages in the Czech Republic appears to be more market-oriented in comparison with its neighbouring countries. The principle of seniority has almost ceased to exist in company wage systems, and employers are clearly giving priority to younger workers with respect to remuneration.
04 January 2007: Training opportunities for older workers (Austria / Information update)
A quantitative survey on older workers, conducted by the Austrian Chamber of Labour, differentiates between blue-collar and white-collar workers. The survey findings reveal that there are considerable differences in terms of access to and satisfaction with training between these two groups of older employees.
04 August 2006: High rates of MSD among supermarket workers (Italy / Information update)
A survey among supermarket workers in the Marche region of Italy, carried out by the local branch of a trade union, finds high rates of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Repetitive work is a feature of occupations within the sector; workers, however, have little awareness of risk. This seems to be at least partly due to their work status, as many of the employees have only been in their jobs for a short period and have non-standard work contracts.
18 January 2006: Work–life balance in the ICT and retail sectors (Portugal / Information update)
In the Portuguese ICT and retail trade sectors, women in particular suffer from a poor work–life balance, research carried out between 2000 and 2004 has found. Occupational and educational level, working hours and contractual status influence the possibility of hiring domestic help and, by consequence, the possibility for women to advance in their career.