Proximus and Minister De Sutter met to discuss adequate response to subcontracting issues

Minister of Public Enterprises Petra De Sutter and top Proximus executives met yesterday evening. "It is important that the abuses are stopped. The chain of subcontractors must not be endless and controls throughout the chain must be improved. These are some of the elements that were discussed, allowing for an adequate response to the findings of the social inspection", De Sutter and Proximus said after their open discussion. Proximus will work on an action plan and remains available to Parliament to provide a full explanation.

"The pyramid by which subcontractors work with subcontractors must be stopped. The first contractor neatly follows the rules, but as soon as an additional layer is created, the risk increases that things go wrong. For this reason, new contracts already stipulate that when working with subcontractors, this cooperation can consist of a maximum of two layers. Proximus is examining whether older contracts can also be adapted along these lines", Proximus and minister De Sutter state.

They continue: "Fiberklaar can adopt the same principle. Proximus is a minority shareholder in the Fiberklaar joint venture and will ensure that all legal requirements are also respected by Fiberklaar and its subcontractors."

In addition, Proximus will make additional efforts to further strengthen internal inspection at its own 300 construction sites, where the company installs fiber through subcontractors. "Proximus wants to consult with the social inspection services to assess whether it can extend its own inspection (more than 20,000 inspections a year), which today focuses mainly on employee safety, to the broader socio-economic legislative framework. The more sophisticated the inspection, the more signals that can be picked up about possible violations", De Sutter and Proximus say.

Simultaneously, Proximus will meet with the other companies that are realizing the rollout of the Proximus fiber network early next week. These are: Jacops, Equans, Besix Unitec, Circet, Verbraeken Infra and Constructel. The contracts these companies are working with will be reviewed.

"The rollout of fiber is an extensive project and of great importance for the future of our country. As a telecom company in which all Belgians have a stake, Proximus is very committed to its social responsibility. All the more reason to ensure that the rules are followed at all levels of the chain. There is clearly an open line of communication with the unions and with us. This is why Proximus itself is keen to explain the issue in Parliament", the minister concluded.