SME Chamber

GRTU Representative on Social Affairs attends Brussels Meeting

 On the 22nd March GRTU's Social Affairs representative Michael Galea participated in EuroCommerce's European Social Dialogue meeting. EuroCommerce represents the retail, wholesale and International trade sectors in Europe and represents GRTU in Brussels.

Trade Union strategy- targeting employers

European commerce must focus on choosing the right skills that are in demand. The organisation plays an important role in job creation, internships and apprenticeship. Internships and apprenticeship are meant to provide young people with the opportunity to gain work experience or use formally acquired skills in a practical setting. In order to explore the quality of internships offered in Europe today, the European Youth Forum has conducted a research in the form of a survey targeting current and former interns.

Call for a European Action Plan for Retail (REAP)

The role that retail is playing in the creation of jobs was emphasised. European commerce faces a number of barriers especially in central and eastern European countries.

The key challenges addressed by the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) are to improve the overall environmental performance of products throughout their life-cycle, promote and stimulate the demand of better products and production technologies, and helping consumers to make better choices. The Plan recognises retailers' important contribution to sustainability and to influencing sustainable consumption through their own and supply chains operations, and consumer behaviour.

European retailers share the view that achieving sustainable consumption and production is a key challenge for the future. Retailers witness – on a daily basis – the changing demands of their customers, the constantly evolving needs for suitable and accurate information, the rapid introduction of new eco-products, and ever ‘greener' supply chain processes.

At the same time, retailers witness the challenges in converting consumers' general environmental awareness into purchasing decisions, in anticipating future consumer wishes without becoming divorced from current consumer demands and in greening their internal processes and procedures at an economically sound and efficient pace.

Within the parameters of fair and robust competition, taking forward the SCP and SIP Action Plan, European retailers voluntarily propose the Retailers' Environmental Action Programme. EuroCommerce is confident that REAP will soon be a reality. There are issues on international trade and employment. As a committee EuroCommerce has to be very precise, in terms of what it wants from the Commission in the coming years.

The action plan would not only help improve the recognition of the importance of retail in meeting the EU 2020 strategy targets for smarter and sustainable growth in Europe. It would also rest in the development of concrete immediate and longer term recommendations for action.

The retail associations ERRT, EuroCommerce, EuroCoop and UGAL urge for action to be taken immediately on the following priority areas:

Making the retail sector benefit from a fully functioning internal markefor goods, services and capital

Making the digital agenda a reality for businesses and consumers

Support employment, skills development and entrepreneurship in retail as an

Support expansion abroad

Social Dialogue

The EU is celebrating 20 years of Social Dialogue. Europe is currently

1. In the finalization and realization of the Single market

2. Engaged 5 countries where Social Dialogue is strong in organization of the 20th anniversary celebrations.

3. EuroCommerce to lead in these celebrations

Social Dialogue between EuroCommerce (representing employers) and UNI-Europa Commerce (representing workers) was active continuously since 1983 and was officially recognised by the European Commission in 1990. In 1993, EuroCommerce and Euro-Fiet (now UNI-Europa) officially recognised each other as social partners within the meaning of Articles 3 and 4 of the Agreement on Social Policy. On 30 November 1998, following the reorganisation of the European social dialogue, the social partners agreed to establish a sectoral social dialogue committee.

The Social Partners for Commerce tackle employment and labour related issues through a large range of instruments such as statements, opinions, guidelines, framework agreements or concrete projects (vocational training material, studies and reports). Unions are using social media a lot, contrary to commerce.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

We have recently seen the first politic statement since 2006. A lot of initiatives are being started. Two key elements:

1. New definition of CSR

2. Agenda for action covering 8 different areas.

EuroCommerce has long been committed to CSR, as the commerce sector has an established tradition of initiating and developing a broad spectrum of responsible practices. In our view a voluntary approach is preferable, as it allows for creativity and enables companies to share ideas and experience on best practice.

The two main bodies involved in the formation and implementation of CSR policy are the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum, which is coordinated by the European Commission, and, on the business side, the European Alliance for CSR, which is a vital forum of exchange for companies and business associations.


CEEMET was created in 1962 under the name western union metal trades employers organization. In 2004 it was renamed CEEMET. The members are national employers' organizations and federations, representing 200,000 member companies across Europe, the vast majority of which are SMEs providing 13million direct jobs in the metal, engineering and technology based sectors. Together these companies make the largest industrial sector in Europe in terms of employment and added value.

CEEMET's mission is to represent, promote and defend the social policy-related interests of the employers in the metal, engineering and technology-based industries on the European level, working together with all stakeholders to create and maintain a sustainable and competitive environment for European industry.

CEEMET's core objectives are:

To promote the exchange of information among its members on all social issues which directly affect the interests of the metal, engineering and technology-based industries

To coordinate views and opinions on social policy and industrial relations issues of concern to the members, and organize and implement the initiatives and actions of the members at European level

To issue statements and position papers on matters of common interest

CEEMET and the European Metalworkers Federation began their dialogue informally in 2001. In January 2010 this sectoral social dialogue was formalised, with the European Commission recognizing CEEMET and the EMF as formal sectoral Social Partners. CEEMET believes that European-level sectoral social dialogue can contribute to improving the economic and business environment that supports the development of competitive and profitable companies, thus also helping to promote sustainable employment and conditions in the MET industries in Europe.


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