Wholesale And Retail Collective Agreement

In some of the countries mentioned above, the dividing lines are quite clear and employers` organizations can establish a certain cooperative relationship between them. This is the case in Ireland, with one retail organisation and another for SMEs in general, both of which are affiliated with the same association, and in Hungary, where the three main organisations include large companies, SMEs and the cooperative sector. In other countries, such as Spain, delimitation is more diffuse and relations are more competitive. Finally, in some countries, employer representation is more openly divided by “political” criteria and is characterized by competitive relationships. This is the case for Germany (with two employers` organisations), Cyprus (three) and Greece (four). In some countries, labour relations in the retail sector pay particular attention to the regulation and use of part-time work, which is also linked to the deregulation of store hours. Retail uses part-time work (see above in “employment conditions”), whether for certain slots or to provide staff on weekends, public holidays and high customer periods. The debate between employers and trade unions on the essentials focuses on two themes: “non-voluntary” part-time work; and the “flexible” use of part-time work by employers, i.e. longer working hours or changes in working hours.

Source: EIRO. Economic-wide data from the EIRO study “Industrial relations in EU Member States and candidate countries” (TN0207104F), with the exception of Bulgaria (“Union membership 1993-2003” – TN0403105U) and Norway (“Industrial relations in the automotive sector”- TN0312101S). For this study, retail data were collected. In the absence of official data or research, EIRO`s national centres have submitted their own estimates. In the countries studied, the general picture shows that specific initiatives on gender equality in retail trade are limited and often have no impact. This is accompanied by a wide variety of general gender equality situations and policies across Europe. The change in the rate of pay (the share of employees in total employment) is a good indicator of structural changes in this sector. In the EU-15, this rate has increased considerably (from 70% in 1997 to 75% in 2002), due to both a sharp increase in the number of employees and an equally marked decrease in self-employment. In the new Member States, the variation was less significant (from 75% to 76%), not least because the rate of pay was already higher in this sector.

Nevertheless, retail trade remains a sector where self-employment is relatively high in both groups, with the rate of pay for the economy as a whole of about 85%. In general, small businesses dominate retail in numbers. However, over the past 20 years, the trend has been to consolidate and streamline the growth of large firms, pushing small businesses to adopt survival strategies, including price and cost reductions, and to reduce product lines.

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