SIPTU welcomes draft Programme for Government’s commitment to inclusion of social clauses
SIPTU has welcomed the publication by the Northern Ireland Executive of the Draft Programme for Government 2011-15, and in particular its pledge to “include social clauses in public procurement contracts for supplies, services and construction.”
Social clauses in public procurement procedures refer to social and labour standards that contractors have to fulfil in order to tender for public contracts. Such clauses require that all bidders respect certain locally established standards so that public contracts do not exert a downward pressure on wages and working conditions.
“We trust that the provision of a social clause into public procurement contracts will ensure they contain ‘a threshold of decency clause’ in relation to terms and conditions of employment for any organisation employing staff and securing a public procurement contract,” said the Chair of the SIPTU North West Community Sector Division, Karen Mullan.
“We are aware from contact with our membership and organisations of growing concerns that Government departments are seeking ever increasing ‘efficiencies’ from the Community and Voluntary Sector in funding applications. Some organisations have regrettably addressed this conundrum by reducing the pay or hours of work of the staff they employ. This, if not adequately addressed will result in a race to the bottom in relation to terms and conditions of employment in the sector and will also result in the loss of experienced, skilled and committed staff. This will then lead to a reduction in the quality and level of community and voluntary services,” Karen Mullan added.
Karen Mullan Chair of the North West District Committee
SIPTU believes the insertion of threshold of decency clauses will provide organisations with a level playing field to compete for Government contracts based upon the quality of service they provide.
Chair of the SIPTU Belfast Community District Committee, Pat McCauley, said; “We have written to the Northern Ireland Executive advising itof our position on this issue, and seeking a meeting to explore the introduction of the commitment together. Society relying upon, and the workers providing us with key services deserve the inclusion of a social clause and the Northern Ireland Executive needs to be applauded for this commitment. SIPTU will continue to monitor the situation.”
Pat McCauley Chair of SIPTU Belfast Community District Committee