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EU: An issue to watch

European trade unions are advocating for amending EU public procurement laws to require collective agreements for public sector contracts.

Why it matters: This proposal aims to ensure that public money goes to companies that respect workers, negotiate with trade unions, and have collective bargaining agreements in place. The unions will continue their campaign to revise public procurement rules and make collective agreements a condition for awarding public contracts.

The big picture: This would not be a problem in countries such as France, Spain, and Italy where, despite low trade union membership the majority of workers are covered by collective bargaining arrangements because of erga omnes legal extension mechanisms, it would be a problem in most EU Member States where private sector membership is around 15% at best.

Additional material: 

Oliver Roethig, General Secretary of UNI Europa commented: 

“…by the end of the year, the 80% target for collective bargaining coverage will be national law. We all know how low coverage is in most countries. Trade unions, together with our allies, must make sure that the directive delivers on its promises.”

“To this end, we will take our flagship campaign “No Public Contract Without Collective Agreement” to the next level. The top priority on social matters for the incoming European Commission and Parliament must be revising public procurement rules. The EU must set a standard here for the whole of Europe: public money should only go to companies that respect workers, negotiate with trade unions and are covered by collective bargaining.”

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Authors: Tom Hayes

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