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EFCI News – Issue 18 | June 2021


EFCI News - Issue 18


The EFCI is organizing its 11th Conference under the title “Cleaning and Facility Services for Europe’s Recovery”. Following the developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EFCI has turned its bi-annual conference into an online week of seminars that will tackle the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and the challenges ahead for the sector, its role in Europe’s recovery, the new world of work, the greening of cleaning services and the main innovation trends for the sector.

The Conference will include speakers from the European Institutions and EFCI’s stakeholders, as well as from the sector itself. The sessions will be organized in different formats, some open to the public (upon free registration that will open during the month of July) and other events which will be exclusive for EFCI Members and their company members.

The week of online seminars will be inaugurated with the presentation of EFCI’s 2021 Survey on the State of the Industry, which builds on the reputed EFCI surveys. This years’ edition is completed with a study on the effects of COVID-19 on the sector. This will liaise with Tuesday’s session, which will invite policy makers and experts to discuss how the sector can contribute and benefit from Europe’s recovery plans. Further, an Executive Summit will take place on Wednesday 13, as a platform for exchange on the challenges and future for the sector between the leaders of its companies and associations.

Thursday 14 of October will be devoted to sustainability and the green transition of the sector and Friday 15 will close the week with a session on innovation and digitization, seeking to enhance the preparedness of the industry for the new technologies and challenges and opportunities they bring.

EFCI’s online week will consolidate EFCI’s role as meeting point for the industry at European level, creating a space for debate on policy and future perspectives for the cleaning and facility services industry.

EFCI’s online conference week is open for sponsorship opportunities, that will allow the interested companies both to support the event and to get visibility at a meeting point for the industry. For more information, please contact






The EFCI published its “Recommendations for quality-based procurement of cleaning services”, a set of specific recommendations and suggestions for procurers who want to deepen their commitment towards quality services and the respect for high social standards when contracting cleaning services.

In the document, the EFCI highlights how outsourcing cleaning services allow organisations to focus on their main activities and ensures that specialised and trained professionals maintain high cleaning and hygiene standards in their premises. In this regard, the EFCI strongly advices to:

  • Partnering with the sector: the EFCI highlights how outsourcing cleaning services allows organisations to focus on their main activity and ensures that specialised and trained professionals maintain high cleaning and hygiene standards in their premises. In the tender design, we strongly recommend partnering with cleaning companies and associations from the early stages of the procurement design to ensure the conduction of a right market analysis whilst maintaining a level playing field among bidders, ensuring transparency and equal treatment. Working in partnership throughout the procurement process and building constructive relations with the cleaning providers is key also through the execution of the contract.
  • Tendering labour-intensive services requires the right approach: cleaning is a highly labour-intensive service where labour accounts for around 85% of the total costs. This means that pressure on price will have direct consequences on staffing, the knowledge and expertise of teams, the rest of the costs and the relevance given to innovation and sustainability aspects. As such, it is essential to shift the focus from price-alone criteria to a choice based on the best price/quality ratio. Following the recommendations of the Selecting Best Value Guide is the basis to reach this objective.
  • Preparation as key for successful tenders and execution, including conducting market research and consultations, following the recommendations by national authorities in the design of tenders and liaising with the national associations to get assistance and advice from an objective partner.
  • Regarding price and award criteria, the EFCI strongly advices to (i) use the ‘MEAT’ criteria (most economically advantageous tender) within a ‘best price quality ratio’ approach, and (ii) applying the proportional model in the evaluation of the bids. Further, the EFCI recommends to (iii) avoid using the number of hours as a scoring criterion (as cleaning contracts are result-based and not activity-based contracts). Moreover, and in order to improve the balance of other scoring criteria, the EFCI recommends to (i) pay special attention to the organisation of the execution of the contract to enhance quality control during the life of the contract; (ii) including references in the contract to the qualification and experience of staff; (iii) including the relevant environmental and sustainability systems in each country and making reference to GPP criteria and (iv) pay special attention to innovation.
  • Of course, the EFCI also recommends including daytime cleaning in the execution criteria.

To the leaflet


The European employers organizers, Ceemet, ECEG, Geopa-Copa, Hotrec, WEC Europe and the EFCI brought their legal experts and practitioners together with a trade union and Commission representative in a technical seminar. During the event, they had a closer look at 3 questions and the following conclusions were raised:

  1. Which legal basis for a Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages?

Questioned about the legal basis, the Commission stands behind the proposed Directive as the proposal does not aim to establish a single European minimum wage nor to harmonize it. The Commission referred to their own and the European Council Legal Services analysis.

Employers showed concerns on the appropriateness of the legal basis as payment is explicitly excluded from the EU level. Moreover, for some Member States, e.g. Germany, it would even go against the Constitution. The German Constitution for example provides the right to associate, but also the right not to associate. Including an EU level quota as laid down in Article 5 will give a push to associate and would go against the Constitution.

  1. What are the practical implications on statutory minimum wage systems?

No speaker left a doubt about the fact that the provision in Article 5 on the statutory minimum wage will have an impact on collective bargaining. In addition, raising minimum wages without considering the national and socio-economic context would be detrimental for companies that are focusing on a swift and full recovery in a post-COVID era.

The proposed text will also give the power to the European Court of Justice to control countries’ minimum wage levels which is of course an unacceptable intrusion in the national and social partners’ competences.

Asked to define ‘adequacy’ all speakers agreed that it is impossible to do so at EU level. It is a question that needs to be dealt with at national and/or sector level as it depends on the capability of the employer to compete in the market. Although easy to demand, ‘adequate’ is very vague. These are multiple factors that define what ‘adequate’ means for each country and sector.

  1. How the proposed Directive weaken social partner autonomy?

There was unanimity between the panelists in their analysis that the Article 4, as it currently stands, heavily undermines collective bargaining. Along the same lines, social partners present showed concerns on the establishment of an action plan if there is no 70% coverage.

Entire collective agreements will be heavily disturbed due to the EU level of interference on wage setting.

Trade union and sector employers agreed upon the fact that collective bargaining cannot be forced upon. It has to be promoted via capacity building, a role where speakers would see the EU at the helm. Sectoral stakeholders remain open to the continuation of the discussions with the co-legislators in the months ahead.

The event was widely followed by representatives of the European Parliament, permanent representations from EU Members States and employers and unions representatives. The event built on the Joint Statement on the minimum wages Directive proposal published by Ceemet, CoESS, EBF, ECEG, EuroCommerce, FIEC, Geopa-Copa, Hotrec, WEC Europe and the EFCI on 5 May 2021. The Statement had wide repercussion on the EU-affairs specialized media and ahead of the Porto Social Summit.

To the Joint statement


Almega Serviceföretagen, EFCI’s Swedish member, is actively working to draw attention to the Samhall case and to call for fair competition in the industrial cleaning services sector in Sweden.

Samhall is a sheltered employment company in Sweden whose mission is to create jobs that enhance the development of people with functional impairment. The company was already the object of a State Aid Decision by the European Commission in 2018. The European Commission found that Samhall made misuse of the compensations received for the Service of General Economic Interest it was providing (SGEI).

Recently, public media have put more attention on the company’s practices, evidencing that the company does not employ people with disabilities and is using state aid to offer very low prices that endanger competition in the industrial cleaning services market in Sweden. Indeed, the case was object of the TV show För svag för Samhall on SVT play television (which you can see here).

Since the broadcasting of the show, Almega Serviceföretagen has increased its activity to work for a healthier competition in the Swedish industrial cleaning market.

The EFCI and its members advocate for the prevention of unfair competition and to ensure that regulation accompanies the services sector into a smooth access to markets, promoting competitiveness and fair competition.

To follow Almega’s activities