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Professor Jill Rubery and retail task force urge government to support retailers

Professor Jill Rubery of Comparative Employment at Alliance Manchester Business School joined other members of the Fabian Society’s retail industry taskforce at the launch of their concluding report ‘At the crossroads: the future of British retail’ in London this week.

The members that include retailers, experts and trade unions, spent a year focusing on developing proposals to improve prospects for an industry that faces the challenge of adapting the rapid growth of online shopping and enormous consumer expectation. Professor Rubery’s extensive research has covered labour market regulation, the role of minimum wages and new forms of work.

Together the members concluded that unless the government acts to support British retailers, one million jobs could be lost or employers could compete in a ‘race to the bottom’ on pay and conditions. The taskforce argued that retailers such as Amazon, Sports Direct and IKEA are reacting to challenges in three different ways, ‘squeezing costs’, ‘automating to efficiency’ and ‘competing on connectivity’. From this, a ten point plan was proposed for a retail industry with higher pay and stable employment to address low productivity and growth.

For more information about the report visit: