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EFCI attends European Parliament hearing on the social impact of Public Procurement
Lorenzo Mattioli, president of EFCI - the European Cleaning & Facilities Services Industry Association, participated in the recent hearing, organised by the Employment & Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, to discuss the findings of a report on the social impact of the current public procurement provisions, (as per the 2014 Public Procurement Directive).
For the first time, EFCI was given the opportunity to present its views before the Members of the European Parliament on an issue of fundamental importance for the sector.
Following the presentation of the report by its authors, different speakers took the floor. In his contribution, Lorenzo emphasised the following key points:
• Economic impact: Public procurement significantly influences the cleaning industry, contributing up to 50% of turnover in some countries. This not only sustains financial health but also shapes market conditions for private clients.
• Labour costs challenge: With labour costs exceeding 80% of the industry's total expenses, recent inflationary trends, particularly in salary adjustments, present financial challenges, impacting the sector's overall landscape.
• Directive gaps: The 2014 Public Procurement Directive lacks clarity on price revision mechanisms, leading to varied regulations across Member States. Companies struggle to recover increased salary costs, operating at a loss, and facing sustainability concerns.
• Advocacy for change: EFCI, alongside stakeholders, advocates for explicit guarantees in the directive, enabling Member States to revise public contract prices. This push aims to ensure companies can recover increased costs, upholding service quality and employment standards.
• Financial dimensions: A presented study highlighted concerns about financial conditions in tender awards. Despite the ‘best quality-price ratio’ principle, tenders often prioritise the lowest price, potentially compromising service quality.
• Call for professionalisation: The study emphasised Member States' tendency to award tenders solely based on the lowest price, underscoring the need for improved technical capacity and enforcement. Public authorities play a crucial role in fostering professionalisation among contracting authorities.
As the industry adapts to these challenges, ongoing discussions, including an upcoming November 14th event on public procurement, will shape the future of the cleaning industry.
In his presentation, Lorenzo said:
“As the President of EFCI, I stand before you to shed light on the significant role our industry plays in the European landscape. EFCI proudly represents over 300,000 companies, predominantly small and medium-sized enterprises, employing more than 4million people across 13 countries. Our essential work in industrial cleaning and facility management, as highlighted by a recent Eurofound study, proved instrumental in reuniting Europeans safely after the challenges posed by the pandemic. Our sector's paradox lies in its almost complete invisibility; people notice when our work is not done correctly, yet the essence of cleanliness remains largely unseen.
“Public contracting holds a central position for our industry, constituting up to 50% of our turnover in certain countries. Its influence extends beyond direct financial impact, shaping the practices of other client types. In a sector where labour costs are the highest among labour-intensive industries, our social commitment is deeply rooted in providing opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds and low qualifications, serving as a gateway to legal employment and social integration.”
9th November 2023