The Scottish Government has published a strategy intended to promote fair work and improve skills in Scotland’s retail sector.

The plan outlines how major industry stakeholders, including the government, business leaders and trade unions, can work together to enhance businesses and the economy, improve wellbeing and address inequality.

Among other actions, the strategy includes developing a Fair Work Agreement to improve working conditions and reduce in-work poverty across the sector, to which retailers can voluntarily sign up.

The government also plans to develop a ‘Just Transition Plan for Retail’ to protect retail jobs and help the sector contribute to the country’s commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.

In addition, Skills Development Scotland and other partners will undertake an initiative called the Skills Audit and Action Plan, which aims to support retail reskilling or upskilling as the nature of certain jobs changes.

A new Industry Leadership Group co-chaired by Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur will be created to implement the retail strategy.

Arthur said: “Our retail strategy sets out actions to support the sector to rebuild from the effects of the pandemic, address longer-term challenges and maximise opportunities to fulfil its potential.

“It has been developed in collaboration with business, trade unions, academia and the public sector.

“We want to support innovation and entrepreneurship, and seize opportunities from new technology and markets, to boost productivity and grow businesses.”

The strategy has gained support from several retail unions, including the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) and the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).

Usdaw Scottish Regional Secretary Tracy Gilbert said: “This strategy is a step in the right direction, and we will be calling for further focus on the strategic and structural issues that are causing such major challenges for the retail sector and its employees.”