Fabian Demicoli

EuroCommerce and Uni-Europa Commerce Sectoral Dialogue Committee discusses 2015-2016 Work Programme

GRTU has attended the EuroCommerce and Uni-Europa Commerce Sectoral Dialogue Committee held in Brussels, Belgium this week. The Committee is set up under the wing of the European Commission and brings together representatives of both employer organisations as well as trade unions to promote social dialogue related to the commerce sector.

A brief overview of the work undertaken in 2014-2015 was given prior to focusing on the upcoming 2016 Work Programme. The Sectoral Social

Dialogue shall now be focusing on a renewed Work Programme for 2016. In 2016 the following shall be the main themes to be addressed: Skills; Employment Strategy; Health and Safety; Business and Human Rights; Flexible labour markets; Improving Social Dialogue.

Retail and Wholesale have a major role to play in fighting youth unemployment. There needs to be better assessment of skills needs in SMEs. There needs to be coherent project implementation with other European stakeholders to promote suitable working conditions based on optimizing one’s skills in line with labour market needs.

In terms of health and safety, it is envisaged that work is to be continued on an EU-funded project which is to set forward a toolkit for the sector drawing on examples of good practice from members. In this field, promoting best practices and finding improvements is desirable but has to be achieved through avoiding further burdensome regulation.

EU Employment Strategy is to be reflected upon through the various aspects of also achieving flexible labour markets that can adapt to the different profiles of potential employees. This would include the review of the working time directive, the review of fixed term and part-time directives as well as a labour market analysis in order to address the challenges of the commerce labour market and provision of quality jobs through a possible EU-funded project on the key challenges and factors of change in the retail and wholesale sector. Main themes to be addresses also include work-life balance, undeclared work and migrant workers.

Another priority is that of empowering and improving social dialogue to ensure close knowledge of union thinking on the main issues facing retail and wholesale. It would also help to identify early warning of threats to the ability of retail and wholesale to respond to the challenges of a rapidly chaining economic and technological environment. Social dialogue has to be more effective and what is being achieved at European level has to be transcended nationally. Another key topic mentioned was that intergenerational solidarity.

GRTU outlined the importance to also include the effects of e-Commerce and online platforms both in terms of business-to-consumer as well as business-to-business, as well as issues related to alternative sources of access to finance. GRTU also suggested focusing on start-ups and entrepreneurship as means to address youth unemployment.

 

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