UNI Europa and the EFCI (European Cleaning and Facility Services Industry) are the Social Partners in the European Sectoral Dialogue Committee for Industrial Cleaning (the “Industrial Cleaning SSDC”). In the framework of the Week of Action of the European campaign #EU4FairWork, UNI Europa and the EFCI reunite forces to show their support to the principles behind the Undeclared Work Platform and the campaign to tackle undeclared work.
Since the establishment of a SSDC in 1999, the Social Partners of the industrial cleaning sector have dedicated an important part of their efforts to the recognition of the sectors and the encouragement of fair competition. As part of their work, they have been involved in the Undeclared Work Platform from the very beginning.
Undeclared work undermines competition and endangers social welfare
Declared work is the foundation of quality service provision in the cleaning sector. It builds trust and reputation with clients and between employees and employers. It contributes to ensure the training and skilling of staff and the respect of health and safety standards. It makes sure that workers benefit from their entitled social protection rights and contributes to society.
Undeclared work, on the other hand, stands in fundamental conflict with the values of the industrial cleaning sector. It harms businesses, workers’ social protection and economies at large. Still, in many countries, undeclared work across all private sectors accounts for more than 20% of the total gross added value2 and undermines the efforts of companies and authorities to provide quality and sustainable jobs. The problem must be tackled together, across the value chain.
Undeclared work is not only against the law, but it also hampers fair competition, undermines a level playing field among businesses and creates high staff turnover. Governments lose their tax base, companies jeopardise their business and reputation and workers end up putting their own and their families’ health and social protection at risk.
Unlawful practices undermine the industrial cleaning sector’s key role in safeguarding public health, especially amidst a global pandemic.
- Against this background, the EFCI and UNI Europa strongly support the European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work and the #EU4FairWork campaign. We call on the European Commission and national governments to take following measures against undeclared work:
- Policymakers on local, national and EU level to invest into labour inspectorates so to effectively enforce law and reinforce their action against undeclared work.
- Public authorities to apply the principles of the Selecting Best Value Guide3 when purchasing cleaning services.
- Public and private clients to ensure legal compliance and certainty, and to promote declared work across the entire value chain – also when sub-contracting services.
- Policymakers to ensure a level-playing field by promoting fair competition and collective bargaining.
As the European Social Partners in the Industrial Cleaning sector, it is our joint responsibility to tackle undeclared work. For this reason, we reiterate our commitment to continue our active participation in the Undeclared Work Platform and call on:
- Companies and workers to fully declare work, and to not put their social protection at risk.
- National employers’ associations and unions to inform and disseminate information about rights and responsibilities of declaring work.