Open letter: over 160 MEPs call on EU Commission to fix public procurement directive

Open letter: over 160 MEPs call on EU Commission to fix public procurement directive

Please find here the European Commission response from 5 April 2023 to the open letter from 5 December 2022 which this article addresses.

Momentum is building to stop public money from fueling the race to the bottom on working people’s conditions. Over 160 Members of the European Parliament, from across 5 different political groupings, are calling for public procurement contracts to only be allowed to go to decent work employers. UNI Europa has sent an open letter to the European Commission, to relay this call and demand a fix to the public procurement directive, that is failing working people across Europe.

Over €2 trillion is spent every year by public institutions for goods and services provided by private companies. This represents 14% of the European Union’s GDP. Half of all these contracts are awarded based solely on price. This fuels a race to the bottom, allowing companies to undercut each other on workers’ pay and conditions and incentivises them to suppress democracy at work.

Workers’ unions across Europe have been warning of the devastating effect EU legislation is having on collective bargaining. Many companies that have well established bargaining cultures and decent conditions are being priced out of accessing public contracts. They cannot compete with companies whose business model is based on poverty wages, long hours and union dodging.

A broad coalition of MEPs are backing the workers and their unions towards a simple but effective solution. Instead of putting price above all else, all public contracts must go to companies which have collective bargaining agreements with their workers. For this, the EU’s public procurement directive must be changed.

It is not just workers’ unions and elected parliamentarians calling for a change to the directive, but experts too. At an expert hearing on the topic of public procurement at the European Parliament recently, the message was clear: the current legislation is failing and should be changed.

Do you want to support the campaign for public money to be only #ProcuringDecentWork? Sign up to the campaign and stay updated here!

Meetings & Events







UNI Europa workshop and conference on Collective Bargaining and the Minimum Wage Directive

UNI Europa hosts a conference on the upcoming National Action Plans regarding collective bargaining within the framework of the EU Minimum Wage Directive.



1st Workshop – Project: Monitoring and furthering the autonomous implementation of the European framework agreement on occupational health and safety in the hairdressing sector



Commerce/Tourism EWC Network Meeting


timing: 9:30 to 12:00