(The term contrat collectif is used synonymously, i.e. as distinct from an agreement in the form of an accord collectif. ) Within the meaning of Luxembourg law, an agreement on labour relations and general terms and conditions of employment concluded between one or more manual workers' or white-collar workers' unions on the one hand and, on the other, either an individual employer or a sectoral or occupational association of employers. The distinguishing feature of a collective agreement in this strict sense is that, on the employees' side, only unions possessing most representative status at national level (see representativeness of trade unions ) possess the capacity to conclude such an agreement. To be valid, an agreement must be signed by the contracting parties or their representatives and submitted in writing for official registration with the Labour and Mines Inspectorate . Appeals against the refusal of registration on the grounds of lack of proper capacity may be referred to the Litigation Division of the Conseil d'État (the supreme administrative court). A collective agreement must be made known to the employees of the signatory enterprises by being displayed at the main entrances to the workplace.

The duration of most collective agreements is two years (the legal maximum is three years). If due notice of termination has not been given by the date of their expiry, the principle of reconduction applies (automatic renewal as an agreement of unspecified duration) and the specified notice of termination is still required. The Law of 1965 regulating collective agreements specifies issues which must be covered and this mandatory content includes, in particular, rules on payments for night work and dangerous and uncongenial working conditions, on the avoidance of sex discrimination in pay, and on the index-linking of pay that applies to all employees in Luxembourg (see sliding pay scale ). If the parties to an agreement are unable to agree on a point of interpretation through a joint committee formed for the purpose, the appropriate Labour Tribunal is competent to rule on the matter.

The obligations deriving from an agreement are binding on all those who have signed it personally or through their representative and also on those who adopt or ratify it. Where an agreement is the outcome of a conciliation settlement or arbitration award within the National Conciliation Service , it may be given erga omnes force, i.e. declared generally binding on all employers and employees in the occupation concerned. This process of extension of collective agreements (déclaration d'obligation générale ) is effected by grand ducal regulation. If an employer is bound by an agreement, its provisions regulate the employment relationships and terms and conditions of employment of all his or her employees, with the exception of senior executives . The contracting parties are under an obligation to uphold the agreement while it remains in force: they are required to refrain from doing anything of a nature to compromise its loyal observance and from any threat or execution of strikes or lockouts until the settlement procedures prescribed by law have been exhausted (see dispute settlement ). Any stipulation in an individual contract of employment or the enterprise's works rules which is contrary to the relevant collective agreement is null and void unless it operates in the employee's favour.

The signatory unions to an agreement may institute any legal proceedings arising from it on behalf of their members without justifying their authorization from the interested party, provided the latter has been informed and does not object. The interested party may always appear as a joined party in the court before which the union has brought proceedings. See also duty to bargain , single collective-agreement system , union right to appear in court .

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.