Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Minister for Economy, has announced a new plan that will ensure fair, secure, and rewarding work in the retail sector, helping to make the sector more resilient. Gething launched the plan during a visit to Llandudno town centre.
Laying out actions that will ensure that fair, secure and rewarding work is available, ‘Together for retail: A Wales Retail Forum action plan’ is providing common ground that allows the sector to collaborate as it works to improve its prospects. This collective action includes:
- Championing workforce equality, diversity, and inclusion at all levels
- Embedding fair work principles by promoting the Real Living Wage, the benefits of the Economic Contract and the role of trade unions
- Promoting the benefits of careers in the sector
- Assessing skills and training provision
- Adopting the Town Centre First policy in planning
- Reducing town centre vacant premises by supporting local authorities to match businesses to them or encourage community and other worthwhile use
- Working collaboratively to promote town centre/high street events to increase footfall
- Creating safer working environments
- Encouraging the retail sector move towards net zero
Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy, said:
“Our retail sector has a vital contribution to make to our town and city centres, rural communities, and our wider well-being, which was never better evidenced than during the Covid-19 pandemic, when retailers provided vital services to people and communities across Wales.
“The launch of this plan comes at a time when the sector is facing considerable change affecting business operations, the workforce, consumer behaviours and the broader economic context and outlook.
“Overlaying those issues are the headwinds of a cost-of-living and cost-of-doing crisis, with all the uncertainty that brings.
“We remain committed to an ongoing conversation, through the Retail Forum, to shape our response to current and future challenges.”
As one of the largest private sector employers in Wales, the retail sector employs 139,000 people and has a huge reach into communities across the country. The sector is instrumental in ensuring that communities are able to access employment and services, especially so in town centres and rural communities.
Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn, added:
“These actions are shared by all social partners in the Retail Forum and are a clear demonstration of the value of social partnership. We are grateful for the engagement and support of the Forum members and the commitment of all our partners to work collaboratively to deliver this Plan.
“The retail sector is a vital source of jobs and is key to our ambitions for a Wales of fair work. Most of us know someone who work in retail and it’s important the sector delivers the fairness, dignity, and respect that retail workers need and deserve.
“With the backing of the Wales Retail Forum and its business and trade union representatives, I am confident this Plan will help deliver positive changes.”