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Parliament vote on predictable working risks retail jobs

18 October 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 18 October 2018

EuroCommerce warned, after the vote today in the European Parliament’s EMPL Committee on the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive, that some of their amendments will act against the interests of both temporary and permanent workers in the retail sector. EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:


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"Our sector employs 29 million Europeans, and one in five of every young person employed in Europe. The sector faces a major challenge in the shift to online sales and further competitive pressure on its margins. By removing the flexibility needed by the sector to employ extra staff at peak times such as Christmas, the Parliament is putting at risk not only temporary jobs, but the future of retailers with permanent employees as well."

The amendments will have the effect of making it impossible to hire mostly young workers, employed on contracts up 8 hours per week. This will block retailers taking on extra staff to meet peak demand or replace sick employees. This penalises young people working a limited number of hours in shops and supermarkets alongside their studies, who cannot work more hours and will lose an important source of supplemental income. Others will miss out on a formative first job experience in retail with opportunities to acquire important interpersonal and soft skills that are essential in a digitalised society. This is a step in the wrong direction where youth unemployment in so many member states is still unacceptably high.

Introducing minimum guaranteed paid hours and ratcheting up the fixed hours of workers will severely undermine the current use of flexible working arrangements by retailers. This will not benefit employers or workers. Paradoxically, retailers may be forced to use temporary contracts instead of offering more predictable open-ended contracts, even of these contracts are part-time.

Verschueren added: "At a time when the digital revolution makes it vital to the survival of bricks-and-mortar shops to have knowledgeable and helpful staff available to help customers, the Parliament, in the name of protecting temporary and part-time workers will create a barrier to employing them at all. Undermining the position of retailers in the name of protecting employee rights does little for either permanent and temporary staff if the result is their shop closing and them losing their jobs"

These proposed changes are complex and intrusive, unnecessary at EU level and are incompatible with subsidiarity. EuroCommerce is very concerned at these changes, as well as a number of fundamentally flawed amendments, including an ill-conceived attempt to create an EU definition of worker, highlighted by BusinessEurope and other business groups.

EuroCommerce is the voice for six million retail, wholesale, and other trading companies. Its members include national commerce federations in 31 countries, Europe's 27 leading retail and wholesale companies, and federations representing specific sectors of commerce.

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