Interadministrative unit for combating illegal work, Luxembourg
The Interadministrative unit for combating illegal work was set up in 2000. It is capable of mobilising over 200 officials from six to eight ministries, administrations or public establishments if required. It has carried out a number of unannounced inspections at construction sites nationwide. Membership of inspection teams varies. The Labour and Mines Inspectorate is the driving force behind and coordinator of this informal unit. Cross-border cooperation occurs in some cases.
The Interadministrative unit for combating illegal work (Cellule interadministrative de lutte contre le travail illégal, CIALTI) is an informal unit intended to coordinate unannounced inspections in various field of economic activity. The main party involved is the Labour and Mines Inspectorate (Inspection du Travail et des Mines, ITM), which is responsible for the unit’s ‘coordination’. In principle, the actions initiated by ITM do not directly intend to combat undeclared work: their primary purpose is centred on efforts to prevent unsafe working conditions and to protect workers’ health. As ITM is the driving force behind CIALTI and coordinator of actions against illegal employment, the unit’s recent reform was of vital importance to those actions. Thus, the new legislation on the organisation of the inspection unit gives it inspection powers and means for immediate intervention in the event of breaches of the law. Among other things, CIALTI may exercise general inspection powers: entering company premises freely, noting the identity of people in the workplace, requesting proof of work permits, as well as calling in the police and exercising specific inspection powers, including performing all necessary examinations, checks and investigations. The inspectorate may demand that the employer brings its affairs back into order and/or discontinues violations of labour law. ITM is engaged in an ongoing process of refining and developing its inspection tools in order to reduce illegal employment in Luxembourg. Thus, it is stepping up its proactive activities in the construction sector by raising the awareness among project owners based outside the country before work starts in Luxembourg.
The actors involved in each action vary depending on the nature and scale of the action, but can include officers from:
- Customs and Excise Administration (Administration des Douanes et Accises) – motorised and motorcycle units;
- Grand-Ducal Police;
- Anti-Fraud Service within the Administration of Registration and Property (Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines);
- Employment Administration (Administration de l’Emploi, ADEM);
- Occupational Health Division of the Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé);
- Membership Service of the Common Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale).
Certain actions also involve cross-border collaboration, for example with the monitoring authority for illegal employment (Finanzkontrolle Schwarzarbeit) within the German Customs Administration.
CIALTI, which was set up in 2000 on the basis of the former Working Party on Social Dumping, then coordinated by the Ministry of Crafts and Trades, is capable of mobilising over 200 officials from six to eight ministries, administrations or public establishments when the need arises, and has carried out a number of unannounced inspections at construction sites throughout the country.
ITM’s Posting of Workers and Illegal Work Department generally acts as the driving and organising force in this context. It also seeks to present its activities effectively in the media by publishing information circulars that are mainly intended to explain how CIALTI operates. Certain actions are also presented in the media for awareness-raising purposes.
Unannounced inspections carried out by CIALTI on the instigation of ITM’s officials are commonly known as ‘spot checks’. Such inspections usually take place at the weekend, on public holidays and in the evening in all regions of the country. They primarily target construction sites.
In addition to these actions, ITM has the following aims:
- introducing the use of badges to control site access and hence ensure faster, more effective site monitoring;
- producing a white paper on illegal work, which will propose the introduction of a law against undeclared work;
- developing a database in order to centralise all information, with access restricted to a limited number of senior civil servants; at present, ITM controls work permits, but there is no database and no database access;
- creating a single contact point through a website, which will aim to make administrative procedures easier.
Evaluation and outcome
Achievement of objectives
Over the years, ITM has classified its spot checks. In 2007, 11 major actions and three specific actions against undeclared work, as well as about 35 medium-scale actions and 181 minor inspections were carried out.
Obstacles and problems
ITM complains of a lack of funding and is seeking to create a permanent structure for CIALTI.
There is a shortage of information about the scale of undeclared work in Luxembourg. However, the inspections initiated by ITM certainly demonstrate that this type of work exists. They also have the effect of highlighting efforts to combat undeclared work and thus play an awareness-raising role.
Measures of this type are obviously transferable. Unannounced workplace inspections are in fact practised in other countries. However, what seems to be specific to Luxembourg is the way in which officers from a variety of administrative bodies are mobilised on a large scale, as well as the media coverage given to operations.
Labour and Mines Inspectorate (ITM), Posting of Workers and Illegal Work Department, Website: http://www.itm.lu/detachement-de-travailleurs
Administration of Registration and Property (Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines), Contrôles interadministratifs de chantiers par l’ITM [Interadministrative site inspections by the ITM], Press release by ITM and CIALTI, April 2005, available online (in French) at: http://www.aed.public.lu/actualites/presse/2005/04/04_itm/index.html.
Clément, F. and Mass, R., ‘Le travail non déclaré au Luxembourg’, in: Gouvernance et Emploi, No. 1, CEPS/INSTEAD, November 2007.
ITM, Annual reports for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
ITM, Contrôle du chantier de la B.E.I. au Kirchberg [Inspection of the BEI construction site in Kirchberg], ITM press release, 23 July 2007, available online (in French) at: http://www.itm.lu/actualites/communique-descente-dans-le-haut-lieu-de-la-finance-europeenne.
ITM, Travail clandestin record sur un chantier à Strassen [Undeclared work at construction site in Strassen], ITM press release, 8 March 2007, available online (in French) at: http://www.itm.lu/actualites/travail-clandestin-record-sur-un-chantier-a-strassen.
Odette Wlodarski, Prevent