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Outcomes

The European Social Observatory classifies the private security sector in the category of sectors seeking to build a European dimension in their field of operations (along with other sectors: industrial cleaning, personal services, live performance, temporary agency work, audiovisual and Horeca). What these sectors have in common is that they have little exposure to international competition and are scarcely affected by Community policies, which means that the European social dimension is not so much imposed on the participants as actively shaped by them.

As in other sectors within this category, the employers play a very proactive role in the social dialogue and in constructing a European agenda, whereas the trade unions initially had more difficulty in fashioning a European strategy, given that the sector is locally based for the most part and, with the exception of cross-border cash in transit and other very specific activities, there is little direct competition between countries.

Nonetheless, according to a UNI-Europa spokesperson, European social dialogue has proved to be a useful tool of cross-border cooperation among trade unions. For instance, a conference attended by the Nordic and Baltic unions was held in 2002, and another was organised for the central and eastern European countries in 2005, leading to closer ties among union organisations. These links made it possible to embark on the negotiation of Lithuania’s first ever sectoral collective agreement. Then, in 2006, the Baltic countries’ trade unions issued a joint text as part of the European social dialogue.

As for the topics addressed, this social dialogue focuses in particular on regulation of the sector, its brand image, vocational training, and on improving service quality, working conditions and public procurement. The aim is to harmonise or align legislation in the different countries so as to create the conditions for healthy, fair competition.

Even though the social partners in this sector have not yet signed any legally binding documents (of the “framework agreement” type), they have demonstrated a distinct willingness to follow up, and assess the effectiveness of, their joint texts. However, apart from the training tools and the “Selecting best value” manual, it would still seem difficult to assess the full impact of documents such as the 2003 Code of conduct and ethics.

The sectoral social partners have in fact put this issue of how to implement their social dialogue outcomes and how to follow up their joint texts on the agenda of their 2009-2010 work programme. The programme comprises the following priorities:

  • regulation of the sector and monitoring of Community legislation;
  • organisation and modernisation of work in a European context;
  • health and safety issues;
  • matters related to public procurement;
  • specific issues related to the European social agenda (investing in people, creating more and better jobs, new skills, etc.);
  • vocational training;
  • implementation of social dialogue outcomes;
  • monitoring of the enlargement process and the integration of companies in the new Member States into the sector.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD