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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure EU-2020-15/1093 – measures in European Union

European social partners call for strategy for retail and wholesale sector

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Open ended, started on 08 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Measures to support a gradual relaunch of work
Author Barbara Surdykowska and Eurofound
Measure added 10 September 2020 (updated 18 September 2020)

Background information

The statement of the representative social partners of this sector, namely: Eurocommerce and UNI Europa, is to point out that they remain committed to protecting employees and their jobs, suppliers and customers, and maintaining this essential economic activity during pandemic crisis. They expect also the commitment from the EU and national authorities. The statement concerns the situation of 29 million people work in the retail and wholesale sector in Europe.

Content of measure

The EU social partners in the retail and wholesale sector stress that they are working together to ensure the continued safety of its workforce who are interacting daily with European consumers, during the pandemic.

They also ask EU and national authorities governments to engage with social partners in drawing up an exit strategy and support measures to avoid significant permanent closures of shops and the social impact these risk to local employment and the viability of rural communities and town centres, and to help return the sector to normality after the virus has subsided.

In the opinion of EuroCommerce and UNI-Europa, employees in food retail and wholesale need to be classified as essential workers, who should be given help if schools and childcare facilities have closed; while in frontier regions, national authorities must let them cross the border freely to get to work.

Use of measure

There is no information on the use.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
EU level social partners
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: EU level


The statement was an independent initiative of the social partners. It was prepared by social partner organizations representative at European level for this sector: Eurocommerce on the side of employers and UNI Europa on the side of trade unions.

Views and reactions

This was own initiative of social partners.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

This case is not occupation-specific.



Eurofound (2020), European social partners call for strategy for retail and wholesale sector, measure EU-2020-15/1093 (measures in European Union), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.