Almost 3,000 Northern Ireland retail jobs lost since 2010, GMB analysis shows 

2,875 traditional retail jobs have disappeared - a decline of 6.6% - since 2010



12 October 2023

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Almost 3,000 traditional bricks and mortar Northern Ireland retail jobs have been lost since 2010, sparking fears that the high street may be in “terminal decline” according to trade union, GMB. 

New GMB analysis shows that 2,875 traditional retail jobs have gone – a decline of 6.6% – since 2010. 

The figures emerge as the last Wilko stores close their doors in the UK for the final time, costing 12,500 workers their jobs after the much-loved chain collapsed. 

GMB told the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool that more retail jobs will be lost unless economic reforms are made.  

Delegates are due to debate a GMB motion which calls for the UK’s “archaic” system of business rates to be replaced, alongside better protections for workers who are made redundant.  

The union also wants tougher sentences when retail workers experience violence and other abuse. 

“High street retail is at the heart of our communities, but customers and workers are denied a fair deal,” said Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary.

“These shocking figures are a wakeup call that Wilko was not the first, and it will not be the last. Better support for communities and workers who face redundancy is urgently needed.  

“That’s why GMB is calling on the Labour Party to enact its pledge to replace the business rates system, strengthen redundancy rights, and establish minimum ownership requirements for critical national retailers. 

“Otherwise, the high street faces terminal decline,” Prendergast added.



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