Event highlights: public procurement to strengthen collective bargaining

Event highlights: public procurement to strengthen collective bargaining

There is growing awareness of the need to ensure the public money is not fueling a race to the bottom for working people. UNI Europa and the ETUC recently held an event with key EU policy-makers. Representatives from four major groups within the European Parliament spoke out in favour of trade union demands.

On 2 May 2023, Oliver Roethig opened the half day event entitled Strengthening Collective Bargaining Through Public Procurement. The event brought together policy-makers from the EU institutions as well as academics, trade union and employer representatives. There was consensus in the room about the need to open up the Public Procurement Directives to address its problems.

With the adoption of the adequate minimum wages and collective bargaining directive, EU member states now have a clear objective. Each country must ensure that conditions and pay for 80% of working people must be determined through collective bargaining. The EU must now take action itself in order to achieve this objective. The EU’s public procurement rules are an ideal tool for it to do so.

Half of all public tenders in the EU are awarded solely on the basis of lowest price. When lowest price is put above all other conditions in public tenders, companies are incentivized to undercut each other rather than compete on delivering better services and goods. A representative from EFCI, the cleaning sector employers’ organisation, highlighted some of the issues employers are facing in the sector and referred to the recent joint declaration with UNI Europa.

The current situation is untenable and driving undignified conditions for workers and undermining quality services to the public. The threat of legal action is having a decisive cooling effect on the inclusion of social criteria in public procurement. Action by local government bodies is being hindered by the threat of being sued by corporations whose business model is based on labour undercutting.

There is broad recognition of the need to fix the EU’s public procurement directives. Ensuring the public procurement strengthens collective bargaining is a priority for workers and their trade unions. With the EU elections coming up in 2024, UNI Europa will be working with political groups in the European Parliament to make it part of their program For the coming mandate.

Meetings & Events

2023

07

Jun

SECTORAL SOCIAL DIALOGUE COMMITTEE INDUSTRIAL CLEANING WORKING GROUP MEETING

Cleaning / Security

07

Jun

“Make Twin Transition” – Sweden national workshop

Commerce

08

Jun

“No longer invisible”: Building a European Alliance for Daytime Cleaning

Cleaning / Security

Event organised by UNI Europa Property Services with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).
Venue: European Economic and Social Committee (Room JDE/61) - Brussels, Belgium
Time: 9.00 - 16.30