Public sector rules

15th of October 2010

Latest news at the Polish Cleaning Industry Chamber from Marek Kowalski.

In January Polish Cleaning Industry Chamber initiated the Cleaning Industry Employers Association, PSC. This is another stage of unification of industry employers who co-operate with each other on an everyday basis and come across similar problems in dealings with state-run companies. So far the association has been joined by cleaning maintenance, catering, washing, protection and facility management industries. Currently talks are being held with pest control leaders.

The association aims to represent industry employers who would be able to protect members’ interests against both the state authorities and the trade unions. The industries involved employ around 600,000 people in Poland and boast an annual turnover of €3 billion.

Over the seven months since its foundation the association has managed to introduce its members into the Trilateral Committee, the most important relevant body in Poland, where bills are discussed before they are proceeded by parliament. Meetings of the committee are attended by the representatives for employers, trade unions and government.

In August the Polish government announced its plan to fight the economic crisis - mainly with a one per cent VAT rise from 2011 and two per cent rise from 2013. The trade unions reacted promptly to the change and demanded a 10 per cent pay rise. In the course of negotiations carried out within the Trilateral Committee an agreement was reached by PSC member companies for a 2011 pay rise as high as 6.7 per cent with the additional guarantee of relevant price compensation for public tender contracts. The solution will allow service industry companies to avoid the adverse impact of the higher VAT and the lowest pay bills. At the same time association industry leaders decided to use the opportunity to regulate public services outsourcing.

In Poland outsourcing is frequently a way to avoid a nagging problem and get rid of employees of a state-run body. The process is far from ideal and is beneficial to neither contractors nor the tender company. That is why the association, together with the Trilateral Committee, decided to tackle outsourcing as well as the public tenders issue. At the first meeting of government representatives and trade unions it was settled that the solution to the outsourcing dilemma is now favourable for employers and government, and also the trade unions. This 'model' solution will be introduced into the Polish Health Service first.

These solutions will comprise labour organisation, employment for the state-run organisations' workforce based on a relevant bill and adaptation of the public tender bill for the requirements of the changing market. The most important change in the public tender bill was specifying the term 'best offer' and the guarantee of a contract change for employers in case of a tax rise relevant to its execution.

The importance of the cleaning sector is proved by the fact more than 2,500 people made redundant by the national railway (PKP) are now seeking employment in the industry -  supervised by the Board of Polish Cleaning Industry Chamber. It decided to carry out a job shift for around 1,000 ex-PKP employees. Their training for new jobs will be carried out by the Chamber. Such an organised employee transfer of such a high number of people from one industry to another has never happened in Poland before. 


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