EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


Representing employers in the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors, EuroCommerce is a sectoral employer organisation operating at a European level. EuroCommerce was founded in 1993 and its membership includes commerce federations in 31 countries, European and national associations representing specific sectors in the commerce industry, and individual companies.

EuroCommerce defines its mission as:

  • to promote the visibility and defend the interests of commerce in the European Union institutions, ensuring they understand and take into account the concerns and realities of the sector throughout the decision-making process;
  • to raise awareness among European Union (EU) decision makers of the importance of commerce in the European economy;
  • to improve the quality of legislation so as to reduce costs and uncertainties for businesses;
  • to keep members informed of EU developments impacting on their daily activities.

EuroCommerce has been active in the European social dialogue since 1983. Its negotiation partner is UNI-Europa Commerce, and their dialogue was officially recognised by the European Commission (EC) in 1990. A sectoral social dialogue committee was established in the commerce sector in November 1998 and has since used a wide range of social dialogue instruments, such as joint statements, opinions, guidelines, framework agreements and concrete projects such as vocational training material, studies and reports.

The social partners in the commerce sector have also been active in the area of EU enlargement, and have convened a series of meetings in candidate countries. Meetings took place in Estonia in May 1988, Hungary in October 1998, the Czech Republic in May 1999, Poland in July 1999, Lithuania and Slovakia in 2000, Latvia in June 2002, and Slovenia in September 2002.

Most recently, in July 2010, EuroCommerce was one of the signatories to the multi-sectoral guidelines (205Kb PDF) on tackling third-party violence and harassment related to work. EuroCommerce also regularly issues position papers on various aspects of employment and social affairs at EU level.

In 2011, EuroCommerce was identified by Eurofound’s social partner representativeness study as by far the most important sector-related European employer organisation for this sector.

See also: European collective agreements; European framework agreement; European sectoral employer federations; European sectoral social dialogue; International Framework Agreement; Trade unions; Transnational company agreement.

Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.
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