March 24, 2022 3:08 p.m.
Encourage fair work and improve skills.
Improving staff skills and working conditions is a key part of a recently released strategy to support retailers.
Getting the Right Change: A Retail Strategy for Scotland describes how the Scottish Government, business leaders and trade unions can work together to unlock opportunities for business and economic growth, improve wellbeing and tackle inequalities, and supporting progress towards our ambitious climate change goals.
The actions described include:
- develop and promote a fair labor agreement to which retailers can voluntarily subscribe, in order to improve fair working conditions across the sector and contribute to the reduction of working poverty
- work with Skills Development Scotland and other partners on a skills audit and action plan, to support reskilling or upskilling of retailers as jobs change, for example due to technology such as self checkouts and online ordering systems
- develop a just transition plan for retail to protect jobs and contribute to the goal of net zero emissions by 2045 through the development of local supply chains, the reuse of materials and choices sustainable travel by staff and customers
- promote city centers and local shops while supporting the development of vacant shops
- harness opportunities in the National Economic Transformation Strategy that will directly support the retail sector, such as actions to grow businesses, boost productivity and support entrepreneurship
A new industry leadership group will be created to drive the implementation of the retail strategy, co-chaired by Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur.
Sir Arthur said:
“As we have seen during the pandemic, our retailers have played and continue to play a vital role in supporting our communities creatively.
“Our retail strategy sets out actions to help the sector rebuild from the effects of the pandemic, address longer-term challenges and maximize opportunities to realize its potential. It has been developed in collaboration with companies, trade unions, universities and the public sector.
“It builds on the National Economic Transformation Strategy and the Covid Recovery Strategy – setting out a shared vision for retail to achieve inclusive economic growth and play its part in creating a fairer and more Scotland green.
“The retail strategy builds on the strengths of the sector – so that it is thriving, resilient, sustainable and profitable for the benefit of all of Scotland.
“We want to support innovation and entrepreneurship, and seize the opportunities of new technologies and new markets, to boost productivity and grow businesses.
“This way, our retailers can benefit from and contribute to the bold action agenda that will transform our economy over the next decade.”
Scottish Retail Consortium Chairman John Brodie MBE said:
“Scottish retailers have shown considerable courage and resilience in overcoming the tribulations of recent years, a period of profound transformation for the industry which has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic. The Scottish Retail Consortium is delighted to have partnered with government to develop this strategy which recognizes the huge economic and social contribution of retailers and outlines a common approach to sustainably grow the industry.
“Retail is the largest private sector employer in Scotland and this more strategic and collaborative approach to supporting and fostering the growth of the industry should help it thrive and realize its potential over the coming decade. . This will benefit retailers and the millions of customers they serve in Scotland, as well as the supply chain and wider economic ecosystem that retail touches, and help drive the Scottish economy forward.
Read the full retail strategy here
Read Mr Arthur’s statement to the Scottish Parliament
Retail is the largest private sector employer in Scotland, comprising over 15,500 businesses employing over 240,000 people, including a high proportion of women and young people.
The steering group will include retail and union representatives.