Policy Study

28/03/2023

The rise of quick-commerce (q-commerce) platforms has reshaped the retail industry, posing new challenges for trade unions.

This policy study examines q-commerce, which promises super-fast delivery of groceries, often under 30 minutes, and its potential threats to established collective bargaining patterns and trade union strongholds in bricks-and-mortar retail.

Drawing on desk research and in-depth qualitative interviews with a range of experts, industry stakeholders, and q-commerce workers in four firms across three countries (Germany, Spain and the UK), this policy study contextualises the rise of q-commerce, before considering how trade unions could react to its emergence at a macro- and workplace level.

The authors outline a critical power resources approach (PRA) framework to adjudicate the potential for organising in q-commerce, given the structure of the industry and its labour markets. The study also maps out the structural, associational, institutional, and societal power resources available to q-commerce workers and unions.

Despite turbulent business dynamics, some variants of q-commerce will likely continue, and unions should devote efforts and resources to organising q-commerce for the protection of workers and to ensure q-commerce firms do not undermine the conditions of those working in adjacent retail and logistics industries.

Below, you can download the Spanish and German versions of the ‘Getting the goods’ policy study:

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