Retail sector turnover grew by almost four per cent during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, COVID-19 treated commerce industries very differently. The growth in last year’s turnover is not visible as growth in the number of people employed in the commerce sector or as new companies in the commerce sector. Instead, they continue their downward trend. The pandemic helped online retail reach record figures. Ensuring purchasing power, competence and entrepreneurship is key when advancing to the time after COVID-19.
The decisions of the government’s budget session are not sufficient for resolving employment problems, and the tax decisions are also still inadequate. The Finnish Commerce Federation calls for the government to take the service sector and competitive strength of commerce into consideration alongside other sectors so that the wheels of the economy can be set in motion.
The coronavirus crisis gave a record-high boost to the sales of electronics, hardware and daily consumer goods in places, but many branches of the specialty goods trade suffered. Simultaneously, the loss of retail trade jobs has accelerated. The potential second wave of the coronavirus towards the end of the year could cut the predicted 2.5 per cent growth in retail business in half and speed up the loss of jobs. Bold and comprehensive structural reforms are called for to eliminate the incentive traps tormenting the commerce sector.
These guidelines cover some of the common questions concerning employment relationships in relation to the ongoing coronavirus situation. The guidelines are updated regularly. The Finnish Commerce Federation's employment advisers are available as normal and ready to answer any questions that member companies may have on this topic.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and the Union of Private Sector Professionals ERTO have agreed on changes to the Collective Agreement for Opticians in accordance with the recommendations of the central labour market organisations in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes apply to the notice period for lay-offs, the negotiating period for co-operation negotiations and the re-employment of dismissed employees.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and the Transport Workers’ Union AKT have agreed on changes to the Collective Agreement for Commercial Transport Workers in accordance with the recommendations of the central labour market organisations in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes apply to the notice period for lay-offs, the negotiating period for co-operation negotiations and the re-employment of dismissed employees.
Retail business turnover developed well in 2019. A spike in specialty and department store trade during late summer and autumn sped up the growth. However, the employment rate of the retail sector dropped from last year due to increased efficiency of supply chains and operations as well as automation and international competition, among other things.
The business sector has been growing at a rate of around two per cent per year for the past few years now. Next year, the growth will slow down, but it will not stop. However, the turnover growth* in wholesale slowed down already last year and has even contracted slightly since the beginning of this year. According to the Finnish Commerce Federation’s forecast, the next decade will bring about great changes to corporate structures and the number of companies in the commerce sector. This will also be reflected in employment.