Employers of Poland urge: contracts of employment, rather than the lowest price only, should be the main criterion in settling public tenders. Though the contract criterion is completely in accordance with the law, in practice costs remain the key factor influencing decisions. One of the effects of such a situation is the high number of other forms of work contracts. – This has to change – says Andrzej Malinowski, President of Employers of Poland.
– If someone states that the excessive use of civil contracts is a problem, then I ask in response: what is the cause of that? It is easy to say: “Let’s use more contracts of employment”. This, however, raises the question of whether the state acts hypocritically. On the one hand, it says that it is fighting with civil contracts, but on the other hand it does not reward the companies that avoid them. What is more, the problem is exacerbated by forcing entrepreneurs to compete on the basis of the lowest price, as if it were the only thing that matters – says Andrzej Malinowski. The President of Employers of Poland stresses that this distorts competition, generates pathologies, destroys the market and consequently has a negative impact on employees.
How to change the priority from costs to contracts of employment? This was the topic of a debate organized by Employers of Poland, attended by Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, Minister of Labour; Andrzej Halicki, Minister of Administration and Digitalization Mariusz Haładyj; Viceminister of Economy Izabela Jakubowska, who is also head of the Public Procurement Office, as well as Michał Jonczynski, Member of the Board at the Social Insurance institution (ZUS).
– The regulations in this regard currently in force are appropriate – the problem lies in their practical implementation – argues Izabela Jakubowska. – Quality and contracts of employment should be at least as important as the price – adds Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz. Andrzej Halicki points out that focusing on costs only does not in fact result in much savings for the state. As an example he cites Poczta Polska, which employs postmen on contracts of employment which is why it finds it difficult to compete in tenders with companies that do not do so. – Thankfully, the Supreme Audit Office has indicated in some of its reports that using the lowest price as the main criterion may also be uneconomical – adds Mariusz Haładyj.
So why is practice so different from theory? Participants admit that the officials’ habits remain the biggest obstacle, as they fear the consequences of choosing a more expensive offer, while choosing the cheapest will not get them into trouble.
– Last year, the public procurement market in Poland was worth over 143 bln PLN, so the state has a very serious tool at its disposal and should make good use of it. We urge the decision makers to move away from the lowest price as the decisive criterion. Honest companies who use contracts of employment should be rewarded – Andrzej Malinowski sums up.