Members of the European Parliament are calling for public procurement rules to be changed to ensure people have a say at work. On International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards, twenty-three MEPs from four different politicial groups in the European Parliament are backing calls by workers’ unions from across Europe for public contracts to be only made accessible to companies that have collective agreements with their workers. You can show your support too here.
Public procurement accounts for €2 trillion per year or over 13% of the EU’s GDP. This money, spent by governments and public institutions for services delivered by private contractors, can play a determining role in setting standards across whole sectors of work.
MEP Agnes Jongerius said: “Democracy at work is the canary in the coalmine for democratic societies. When it is under threat, it is a major warning sign. That is why it is vital to draw the line now. Using public money only with companies who apply a collective agreements is a clear-cut first step.”
MEP Leila Chaïbi said: “When public money is being used to fuel a race to the bottom on essential workers’ conditions, something is clearly wrong and needs to be fixed. Government leaders have clapped for workers, now it is time they gave them the tools to obtain decent conditions.”
Let’s use public money to ensure that work is empowering.
Companies that refuse to implement collective agreements with their workers should be prevented from receiving public contracts.
— Katrin Langensiepen (@k_langensiepen) June 4, 2021
Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa said: “The essence of democracy is not just the freedom to speak—it is the freedom to have a say. That’s why we are calling for public contracts to be awarded only to companies in which workers have a say. This is how we build resilience against rising levels of inequality and ensure accountability of corporations operating in the EU.”
The statement of support reads:
Since the Covid-19 crisis started last year, care workers, cleaners, call centre workers, logistics and postal workers, security guards and all essential workers have been risking their lives to keep our society going. At the same time, they are among the lowest paid and most precarious workers in the EU. Many of them work in publicly procured projects.
Yet too many essential workers are left without a voice. In this way, these companies not only become less accountable to their own workers but also the general public. Meanwhile other companies are forced to also drive down workers’ pay and conditions in order to compete.
Public funding must not be complicit in fuelling this race to the bottom. Public contracts should not go to companies that seek a competitive advantage by suppressing workers’ say and driving poverty wages and sub-standard working conditions. Decent pay and working conditions are in the public interest.
As a Member of the European Parliament, I pledge to work towards ensuring that companies can only be awarded public contracts if they have implemented collective agreements. I support the campaign to change EU public procurement rules to ensure:
- no public contracts for companies without collective agreements;
- a clear political undertaking by the European Commission for this simple change now, followed by a swift legislative initiative.
List of signatories (you can find an updated list here):
Agnes Jongerius, Netherlands, Socialists & Democrats
Marianne Vind, Denmark, Socialists & Democrats
Leïla Chaibi, France, The Left – GUE/NGL
Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Denmark, Greens/EFA
Cindy Franssen, Belgium, EPP
Katrin Langensiepen, Germany, Greens/EFA
Ibán García del Blanco, Spain, Socialists & Democrats
Nikolaj Villumsen, Denmark, The Left – GUE/NGL
Estrella Durá Ferrandis, Spain, Socialists & Democrats
Ernest Urtasun, Spain, Greens/EFA
Andreas Schieder, Austria, Socialists & Democrats
Sira Rego, Spain, The Left – GUE/NGL
Manuel Pineda, Spain, The Left – GUE/NGL
Eero Heinäluoma, Finland, Socialists & Democrats
Kim van Sparrentak, Netherlands, Greens/EFA
Gabriele Bischoff, Germany, Socialists & Democrats
Tiemo Wölken, Germany, Socialists & Democrats
Marc Tarabella, Belgium, Socialists & Democrats
Clare Daly, Ireland, The Left – GUE/NGL
Sara Matthieu, Belgium, Greens/EFA
Mounir Satouri, France, Greens/EFA
Anna Cavazzini, Germany, Greens/EFA
Marc Botenga, Belgium, The Left – GUE/NGL
Saskia Bricmont, Belgium, Greens/EFA
Kathleen Van Brempt, Belgium, Socialists & Democrats
Özlem Alev Demirel, Germany, The Left – GUE/NGL
Malin Björk, Sweden, The Left – GUE/NGL
Manon Aubry, France, The Left – GUE/NGL
Anne Sophie Pelletier, France, The Left – GUE/NGL
Romeo Franz, Germany, Greens/EFA
Alexandra Geese, Germany, Greens/EFA
María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Spain, The Left – GUE/NGL
Rasmus Andresen, Germany, Greens/EFA
Niklas Nienaß, Germany, Greens/EFA
Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Germany, Greens/EFA
Evelyn Regner, Germany, Socialists & Democrats
Theresa Reintke, Germany, Greens/EFA
Erik Marquardt, Germany, Greens/EFA
Sirpa Pietikäinen, Finland, EPP