The challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis on the private security sector are exacerbated by bad contracting practices. In a statement published today, the European Business Services Alliance, EBSA, calls on European and national authorities to take action and engage with businesses and trade associations to discuss practical, temporary solutions for the business services sectors.
In the current COVID-19 crisis, private security services have been recognised by many countries and the European Commission as “essential services”. Like other business services, organised in the European Business Services Alliance (EBSA), they actively help to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus and play a crucial role in supporting the maintenance of healthcare and other critical public services, business activities and supply chains. Their role will continue to be essential to enforce public health and safety measures during the reopening phase.
Nevertheless, the business services sector has been badly hit by the economic crisis arising from the cessation of many public and business activities. The consequences are significant in a segment of the economy in which public buyers may account for 40% of the market.
As a result of the suspension of activities, many business services providers face severe cash-flow problems. In addition, they have assumed increased costs to implement the health and safety measures required to protect both workers and clients and will likely continue to do so in the re-opening phase. These financial problems are exacerbated by bad contracting practices, both from public and private buyers, including unilaterally scaled-down and cancelled services without bridging agreements due to wrongly invoked force majeure clauses; unilaterally extended payment terms and suspended payments; transfer of the costs of personal protective equipment to ongoing contracts; or forcing contractors to lower rates that compromise quality and collective agreements.
These issues are a severe challenge to the continuity of many companies that are essential for a gradual and safe economic recovery in Europe. On this basis, the EBSA calls in a joint statement published today on European and national authorities to take action and engage with businesses and trade associations to discuss practical, temporary solutions for the business services sectors.