Social dialogue: a cleaning sector that works for all

As a recognised social partner since 1998, EFCI has always considered social dialogue as the foundation of its institutional role.

The plenary meeting of social dialogue committee (SDC) in March marked a step forward in collaboration of social partners. EFCI and UniEuropa signed two important documents, defining the joint action of social partners in the cleaning sector for years to come.

EFCI President Lorenzo Mattioli signs a joint declaration on daytime cleaning with Mark Bergfeld, Director Property Services and Unicare
What are the next steps?

Social partners agreed on the new work programme for the period of 2023-2023: organised around three main policy points – public procurement, day-time cleaning, training and skills. The work programme reflects the strong conviction of EFCI and UNI Europa to deliver on their commitments, putting feasibility and concreteness as the foundation of their approach. The deliverables include, among others, series of joint events aimed at raising awareness on the effectiveness of daytime cleaning and a joint EU fact-finding project on the same issue.

Lower price criteria is no longer an option

The two sides approved a Joint Statement on Public Procurement and the cost of living, stressing the need to move away from using lowest price as the overarching criterion for attributing public tenders. Today, the lowest price is the sole criteria for 50% of public contracts. And this simply does not work for a sector that has strong implications on public health and is regarded as essential for the collective wellbeing and proper functioning of our societies. What is needed is a new system where both employers and workers could operate in the best structural conditions.


Stronger legislation on public procurement

Public authorities are a large client base for the industrial cleaning industry in Europe. The contract-awarding conditions have a significant impact on the possibility to provide quality services and maintain high social and working standards for workers while at the same time, safeguarding the financial viability of businesses and the stability of the sector. For these reasons, both social partners call on the European Commission to consider intervening on some shortcomings of current provisions on public procurement. For example, prohibiting clauses that forbid price revision of awarded contracts (especially because of structural phenomena like high inflation) or restricting participation in tenders to actors involved in collective bargaining.

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The SDC meeting in June discussed best practices adopted at national level to improve the transparency and accountability of companies. Attendees had an opportunity to demonstrate voluntary, industry-driven efforts to ensure that our sector maintains the highest standards of responsibility and social sustainability.

EFCI will continue working with partners in leveraging joint efforts to improve the functioning of the sector for a stronger cleaning industry of tomorrow.