Future is Now! UNI Commerce adopts ambitious action plan to organize e-commerce workers


Future is Now! UNI Commerce adopts ambitious action plan to organize e-commerce workers

In its annual meeting held this year in Singapore on 21-23 March 2024, UNI Commerce’s Global Steering Committee unanimously adopted a “Future is Now” work plan to grow union power for e-commerce workers and to better take on the challenges posed by the ever-changing world of retail work.

The workplan’s platform calls for:

  • A new “e-commerce subsector” created within UNI Commerce that will join the three existing subsectors: food retail, fast fashion and car retail;
  • The new subsector to include dark stores, direct to consumer food retail delivery and other direct commerce related work activities as they arise;
  • E-commerce organizing campaigns to be supported;
  • Best practices on organizing and bargaining for e-commerce workers to be identified and disseminated among UNI affiliates.

In response to the ever-changing world of retail work, the workplan also commits to making UNI Commerce a hub for research, policy and bargaining best practices in the global retail sector through:

  • Research projects and reports on all aspects of the commerce sector;
  • Interesting and dynamic panels, guest speakers, presentations at meetings, conferences and trainings;
  • Gathering and sharingleading strategies for collective and sectoral bargaining in the sector on key topics such as digitalization, AI, scheduling,;
  • Monitoring and reporting on the latest innovative legislative and legal changes that affect the commerce industry.

“Given the fast pace of technological change in the commerce sector, for us, the future is now,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce. “We will implement this workplan with our affiliates to keep up with the pace of change and produce the best trade union response possible.”

Discussing the impact of rapidly growing franchising in the food retail sector, the committee also adopted a declaration on franchising that highlights UNI Commerce’s commitment to stop further expansion of franchising and to support and represent workers in the franchised stores. Noting that “workers are not for sale or rental,” the declaration demands that any decision on franchising must be negotiated and agreed with the trade unions.

The meeting hosted by UNI’s Singaporean affiliate – SSMMWU brought together trade union leaders from commerce unions across the globe.

Referring to the recent union victories in the sector in her remarks to the committee, “When we come together in global solidarity, we are unstoppable, let’s keep rising together,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union.

The meeting also featured discussions on UNI’s existing subsectoral work; organizing at IKEA and Amazon; the campaign against violence and harassment in commerce; sectoral dialogue; due diligence enforcement; and our numerous solidarity projects.