Social Partner Declaration on COVID-19: Business continuity and protection of workers

The European sectoral social partners for private security, CoESS and UNI Europa, share the common goal to ensure business continuity in a situation where the provision of private security services is essential as well as to retain staff in a safe and secure working environment. It is in this context that maintaining and using collective bargaining is key to finding equitable and sustainable solutions for businesses and workers during the crisis. Today, CoESS and UNI Europa issued a Joint Declaration calling on the EU and Member States to engage with the social partners in the sector in order to support a safe and secure recovery from COVID-19.

Private security businesses and workers provide an essential service in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and a safe economic recovery. As security guards control access to supermarkets, nursing homes, protect hospitals and critical infrastructure, they support the enforcement of public health, as well as safety and contingency measures.

At the same time, the sector faces challenges to business continuity and protection of workers. The future of many businesses, especially those specialised in the above services, hangs in the air and workers face an uncertain future.

The private security industry remains committed to contributing to a safe, healthy, sustainable and secure economic recovery in Europe, in collaboration with or on behalf of public forces. But the “essential services”-status, which was recognised both by the European Commission and numerous Member States, should lead public authorities to rethink how they purchase security services and value a sector whose goal it is to put the health and safety of workers and citizens first.

Private security will continue to provide expertise and help to enforce many of the health and safety measures with which citizens will have to live for the foreseeable future. To support this process, CoESS and UNI Europa have adopted the joint recommendations for competent authorities, at European and national level, to address in cooperation with sectoral social partners, concerning the following matters:

1)     Better recognition of private security as essential services;

2)     Access to personal protective equipment;

3)     Financial and administrative support;

4)     Best value procurement;

5)     Contracting practices;

6)     Removal of barriers to the redeployment of staff;

7)     Access to cash.

The full joint declaration can be found here.

Photo by Rayner Simpson on Unsplash