Undeclared work stands in fundamental conflict with the values of the private security sector. It harms businesses, workers’ social protection and economies at large. Still, in many countries, undeclared work across all private sectors makes up more than 20% of the total gross value added. The problem must be tackled together, across the value chain. CoESS and UNI Europa call on companies, workers and policymakers alike to take responsibility and action.
Undeclared work is against the law. It hampers fair competition and undermines a level playing field among businesses. It alienates skilled staff and creates high staff turnover. Companies jeopardise their business and reputation, while workers put their own and their families’ health and social protection at risk. Meanwhile, governments lose tax base. In our industry, it is a danger to public security and, therefore, to public safety as well.
With undeclared work, there is nothing to win and a lot to lose for everybody. It creates a lose-lose situation for workers and businesses, and leads to a race to the bottom.
CoESS and UNI Europa therefore strongly support the European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work and its European Week of Action 2020. We call upon:
- Companies to ensure legal compliance and certainty, and to promote declared work across the entire value chain – also when sub-contracting services. We recall that all private security activity must be governed by the allocation of a license to the company or security officer by the relevant national authorities.
- Employers and workers to fully declare work, and to not put their social protection at risk.
- Employers’ associations and unions to inform and disseminate information about rights and responsibilities.
- Policymakers on local, national and EU level to effectively enforce law, and exclude bidders that use undeclared or partly declared staff from public procurement contracts– following the best value procurement principle, with the help of existing standards.
CoESS’ and UNI’s work promotes quality, safety, compliance and trust – from the provision of services to working conditions of staff – in the security industry.
Declared work is the very basis of the principle of quality services in the private security sector. It builds trust and reputation with clients. It respects existing staff and attracts skilled labour. It makes sure that workers benefit from their entitled social protection rights. And it enhances satisfaction with services at the benefit of public security.
It is therefore our joint responsibility to tackle undeclared work, together.
CoESS and UNI Europa are observers of the European Platform tackling Undeclared Work and have already published a joint statement against undeclared work back in 2006. You can find our more information on the European Campaign for Declared Work here.
Country contacts where citizens can raise concerns about a variety of issues related to undeclared work can be found here.
Effective solutions for policymakers can be found at here.
CoESS and UNI Europa have, supported by EU-funding, published good practices and guidelines for best value procurement of private security services at www.securebestvalue.org.