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Decent Work and Competitiveness

ILO meeting to discuss employment relations in retail commerce

The ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Employment Relationships in Retail Commerce will meet on 22-23 April to examine the impact of changing employment relations on decent work and competitiveness in the sector.

Press release | 21 April 2015
GENEVA – Over 80 governments, employers’ and workers’ delegates from more than 50 countries meeting at ILO headquarters will discuss how the diversification of employment relationships in retail commerce is affecting decent work and the competitiveness of enterprises in the sector.

The ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Employment Relationships in Retail Commerce: Their impact on Decent Work and Competitiveness will examine the challenges to governments, employers and workers in retail commerce, including those related to the growing shift from full-time to part-time employment, increasingly flexible work arrangements and the need for predictable work schedules and incomes.

According to a paper prepared for the meeting entitled Employment relationships in retail commerce and their impact on decent work and competitiveness, no industry has experienced greater diversification in its waged employment over the last four decades than retail commerce, where different forms of non-standard employment practices have now attained standard status.

Retail commerce is frequently the largest or one of the largest sectors in many national economies. In 2013, the sector provided close to 19.3 million jobs in the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU28), according to ILO statistics. Women represented over 62 per cent of those workers.

In November 2014, the US retail industry employed approximately 17 million people, representing 13.5 per cent of non-farm workers. In Australia, it was the second highest employing industry with more than 1.2 million people or 10.5 per cent of the entire Australian workforce. In 2012, the Japanese retail sector employed 7.83 million people.

The meeting provides a consensus-building platform for ILO Members to exchange experiences regarding trends in employment relationships in retail commerce and prepare future action on the issue.

For more information, please contact the ILO Department of Communication and Public Information at +4122/799-7912 or