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Zoekopdracht: faculteit: "FdR" en publicatiejaar: "2010"

AuteurM. van Klaveren
TitelLow wages in the retail industry in the Netherlands
UitgeverAmsterdam Institute for Advanced labour Studies, University of Amsterdam
SerietitelAIAS working paper
FaculteitFaculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid
Instituut/afd.FdR: Amsterdams Instituut voor ArbeidsStudies (AIAS)
SamenvattingThis Working Paper is basically a “source book”, accounting the results of over five years of research into the retail industry and the sources used for that research. It originates from the Future of Work in Europe research project of the New York-based Russell Sage Foundation (RSF), in which the AIAS and STZ advies & onderzoek (consultancy & research) carried out the Dutch part, resulting in the monograph Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands (RSF, 2008). It also incorporates sources for the retail part of the project that subsequently compared low-wage developments in Europe and the US, resulting in the volume Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World (RSF, 2010). The Working Paper shows the development of Dutch retailing as an industry in which in the 2000s nearly half of all workers earn less than the low-wage threshold, that is, less than two-thirds of the national median gross hourly wage. In the 1980s and early 1990s retailing already moved towards low pay in the Netherlands. From the mid-1990s on, major factors worked toward the persistence of low pay, in particular in the supermarkets, where three in five workers earned less than the threshold: the slowdown or even decline of disposable income growth and the low consumer-spending share; price wars and the spread of discounting; economies of scale and deregulation of zoning regulations and opening hours, and the development of supply-chain management systems. The longer opening hours allowed by the 1996 Opening Hours (Shops) Act initiated changes in the logistical chain. The food chains replaced adult shift workers with young shelf-stackers; the long “tail” of low youth rates, also applied for prospective checkout operators, proved to constitute an exit option for employers maintaining a low-wage orientation. The supermarket price war of 2003-2006 strengthened employers’ orientation on deploying youngsters, in particular secondary and tertiary education students, (initially, in 2003-04) at the expense of adult women and, structurally, at the expense of those youngsters who want to earn a living wage after leaving school. The official facility to combine work and study distorts parts of the youth retail labour market, effectively crowding out the latter category. In spite of the domination of “low roads” in product market and human resources strategies of food chains, functional flexibility proved to be widespread at shop-floor level -- almost inevitable as tight financial and personnel benchmarks do not allow idle hours. Working time and scheduling issues stood out prominently in workplace relations in the supermarkets. Recurrent issues of complaint concerned employer decisions concerning working times and days-off, as well as low staffing levels and employers not paying according to hours worked. Discontent on these matters rose during the price war. In consumer electronics retail, the other retail sub-sector studied, nearly one in five workers earned less than the low-wage threshold. Yet, workers had to rely to a considerably part on bonuses and compensations paid for working overtime or unusual hours to reach an acceptable pay level. In consumer electronics the working time issue was much less prominent, partly because of the lower share of part-timers, partly because of higher wages, partly because of the compensation system. Without suggesting a too rosy picture, based on an assessment of shop-floor relations we may conclude that consumer electronics retailing contrasted indeed to a large extent with the supermarket branch, not least because this business is sales-based and knowledgeable salespersons have to be regarded as valuable assets.
OpmerkingenOctober 2010. - RSF project Future of work in Europe/Low-wage Employment: Opportunity in the Workplace in Europe and the USA
Soort documentRapport
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