“How does [the Commission] aim to prevent a publicly financed race to the bottom in terms of working conditions?”
This was among the written questions sent by MEP Marianne Vind (S&D, Denmark) on 9 January 2023. This formal submission requires the European Commission to respond.
Too often public contracts go to the lowest bidder. This brings about many injustices for the people working under these contracts. Situations of underpaid work, unpaid work and even undeclared work are not uncommon and the list goes on.
In her question, Marianne Vind highlights the problem of the current EU public procurement rules. Addressed to the European Commission, the written question touches upon the Danish case, where several public authorities in Denmark awarded all interpretation services to a new and cheaper tenderer. The company that won the tender dumped the working conditions and reduced pay rates. Many of the most qualified interpreters refused. This led to a lack of interpretation services for courts and prisons, causing chaos judges, lawyers and doctors as well as the public.
This is a clear example of the counter-productive nature of putting price above all else in public tenders. It fails to guarantee decent work and results in the breakdown of services to members of the public as problems snowball. The EU Public Procurement Directive fails to ensure that quality of the service and the work is taken into account and must be fixed.
“Public money should no longer be allowed to fuel a race to the bottom for working people. It’s time to fix the Public Procurement Directive. There should be no public contract without a collective agreement.” – MEP Marianne Vind (S&D, Denmark)
UNI Europa is proud to have the strong support of Marianne Vind among other MEPs who have taken the pledge for procuring decent work.
“The European Parliament needs more MEPs like Marianne Vind; MEPs like her understand the challenges and injustices that working people are put in when public contracts are mindlessly just granted to the lowest bidder. Decent work goes hand in hand with decent quality services.” – Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa – the European Services Workers Union
UNI Europa is running the campaign “No public contract without a collective agreement”. With this campaign, UNI Europa wants to reopen the Public Procurement Directive and make sure that companies can only win public contracts if they have or respect a collective agreement, this will help safeguard decent working conditions. For further information, click here.