Industrial relations in the public sector — Luxembourg

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 10 Diciembre 2008



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This report presents an overview of industrial relations in the central government and public sector in Luxembourg.

There are two levels of power in the civil service: the Central government and the municipalities. There are 3 types of personnel in the national civil service: the civil servants, the clerical employees and the manual workers. There is no other type of personnel in the civil service in Luxembourg.

The civil servants have a “status” regulated by law, the situation of the clerical employees is also regulated by law, while that of the manual workers is regulated by a collective bargaining agreement called “Collective Contract of Central government Manual Workers.” In the private sector, most situations are regulated by collective bargaining agreement and by the labour code.

The right of association is regulated in the same way for the private and the public sector. The law on the conclusion of collective bargaining agreements is applied uniformly on the private and the public sector. The law on strike provides certain guarantees of minimum service during a strike.

It is also worth mentioning a development in 2003 entailing a reform of the status of civil servants.

Three trade unions intervene for the national public service: the LCGB, the OGB-L and the CGFP. Collective bargaining agreements are negotiated by these 3 trade unions which are the most representative at national level. The collective contract of Central government manual workers is the only such agreement on the matter. The government is represented exclusively by the Ministry of the Civil Service Administrative Reform.

1. Structure of the public sector in your country

Please provide:

The definition of the public sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered (e.g. central government, local government, health sector, education, others)?

Because of its small territory, Luxembourg’s Central government remains. At local level, however, it is worth mentioning the autonomy of the municipalities, as they can share competencies with the Central government (on education for instance), or a real transfer of competencies from central power to the municipalities (on health, in particular). The Grand Duchy has eighteen municipalities.

There are therefore two levels of power in the public service: the Central government and the municipalities.

The definition of the central government sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered?

At central government level, there are several bodies of civil servants, i.e.:

the general civil service;

the judicial authorities;

the armed forces (the army and policy of the Grand Duchy);

education;

religions;

customs.

Civil servants have a “status” regulated by law.

NO such differentiation is made for the two other statuses in the national public service: the clerical employees and the manual workers of the Central government. The situation of the clerical employees is regulated by law; that of manual workers by collective bargaining agreement.

There are therefore 3 types of personnel in the national public service: the civil servants, the clerical employees and the manual workers.

The following data:

Table 1. Employment and population*
Year Central government Public sector Total Employees (all economy) Total Population
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

22.878

29.864

294.100

451.600

2004

23.589

30 577

301.600

455.000

2005

Data not available

* Statistics do not make the distinction between men and women

Table 2. Central government employment
Year Open-ended of which part-time Fixed-term of which part-time
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

Data not available

2004

2005

Please clarify whether central government employment includes: a) school teachers; b) NHS employees; c) armed forces and police; other non-ministerial employees. If data include these groups of employees, please indicate their numbers (or estimated share).

Category

2003

2004

2005

General administration

5006

5018

5127

Judicial authorities

425

444

452

Police

1753

1807

1871

Education

6538

6667

6844

Clerical employees

276

276

281

Total

13 989

14 212

14 575

Source: activity report of the Ministry of public service and administration reform, March 2006

Please indicate whether fixed-term employment and part-time work are typical of certain organisational areas in the central government sector (for instance, top job positions rather than lower-level occupations) or group of workers (such as employees approaching retirement, new recruits, women, technicians, and the like)

Please indicate the presence and quantitative relevance of non-standard employment relationships in the central government sector, and especially of temporary agency work and service contracts with individuals or other non-standard contractual relationships that are important in your country.

Apart from the positions mentioned above, i.e. the civil servants, the clerical employees and the manual workers, there is no other type of civil service personnel in Luxembourg.

2. Employment regulation

Public sector vs. private sector.

Do (certain) public sector employees enjoy special status compared with private sector employees?

As indicated above, civil servants have a “status” regulated by law, the situation of the clerical employees is also regulated by law, while that of the manual workers is regulated by a collective bargaining agreement called “Collective Contract of Central government Manual Workers.” In the private sector, most situations are regulated by collective bargaining agreement and by the labour code.

Do all public sector employees have the same status or are there differences between different groups of employees, as, for instance, between civil servants, clerical employees and workers?

The status applies to Central government civil servants. The capacity of Central government civil servant is defined by an express provision of the law. It is moreover recognised for any person who provides services in a definitive and permanent manner, as part of Central government administrative personnel, subsequent to appointment by the competent authority to a position provided by legislative provision.

The status applies also to magistrates and to clerks of the court, subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the act on the organisation of the judiciary, concerning in particular the recruitment, non-removability, incompatibilities, residence, absences and leaves, and the hearing and discipline service.

If public sector employees enjoy special status(es), please specify:

The distinctive features of (each) public sector employment status, highlighting the main differences with the status of private sector employees (and, if relevant, among the various public sector statuses). In particular, indicate whether such differences involve the rights: i) of association; ii) to bargaining collectively; iii) to strike.

i)

Article 11 of the revised Constitution of 21 May 1948 guarantees trade union freedoms by stipulating, in paragraph 5: “The law shall organise the social security, health protection and time off of workers and shall guarantee trade union freedoms.” In addition to its constitutional value, trade union freedom moreover constitutes a corollary to the right of association enshrined in article 26 of the Constitution which stipulates: “The Constitution guarantees the right of association, within respect of the laws that govern the exercise of this right, without making it subject to prior authorisation.”

The Act of 11 May 1936 guarantees the freedom of association in all areas. This act stipulates, first of all, in article 1: “The freedom of association in all areas shall be guaranteed. No one may be forced to belong or not to belong to an association.

The right of association is governed in the same way for the private and the public sector.

ii)

The act of 30 June 2004 on the conclusion of collective agreements applied uniformly to the private and public sector. There is a similar procedure for concluding agreements in the two sectors.

iii)

The Act on strikes provides certain guarantees of minimum service during a strike. In this capacity, the act prohibits certain civil servants from going on strike. These are first of all civil servants whose position was created on the basis of article 76 of the Constitution, i.e. government councillors.

This prohibition also concerns extraordinary envoys, plenipotentiary ministers, legation councillors, and other diplomatic staff who perform duties abroad in a permanent or temporary capacity, magistrates of the judiciary, heads of administrative departments and their deputies, directors of education establishments and their assistants, judiciary and penitentiary personnel, members of the police, the medical and paramedical staff of services on duty, security officers and personnel in charge of security in administrative departments.

Outside these prohibitions, the ministers may, by governmental order in council, be authorised to proceed or have others proceed to the requisition of all or part of the indispensable personnel for the operation of essential services to meet the country’s needs.

The requirements that must be fulfilled to gain (each) such special status(es): i) pass a public examination; ii) achieve a certain tenure in the position; c) in terms of nationality; d) other specific conditions.

The status of civil servants lists all the conditions necessary for assuming such a position: be a Luxembourg national, enjoy civil and political rights, offer the requisite ethical guarantees, meet the conditions of physical aptitude required to perform the duties, meet the educational and vocational conditions required, have undergone training, have passed an end-of-training examination, be under 45 years of age at the time of admission to the training course.

As regards manual workers, their collective bargaining agreement provides the following conditions: Luxembourg nationality, enjoyment of civil and political rights, proficiency in the job, and the ethical and physical aptitudes to exercise it, and the language proficiency required.

As regards Central government clerical employees, the conditions are the following: Luxembourg nationality, enjoyment of civil and political rights, proficiency in the job, and the ethical and physical aptitudes to exercise it.

Central government. Please indicate whether and how this special employment status regulation applies to central government employees.

See point 1

Please fill in the following table:

Table 3. Status of central government employees
Year Total employees Civil servants Clerical employees Manual workers
Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

20.064

13.989

3.765

2.310

2004

20.557

14.212

3.971

2.374

2005

21.574

14.575

4.343

2.656

N.B.: add further columns if required

Source: Ministry of public services and administration reform, activity report 2005

Please indicate the elements of the employment relationship of central government employees which are regulated by:

Specific legislation.

The status of the civil servants mention the following aspects:

recruiting and start in the function

promotion

position

duties

incompatibilities

hours of statutory working week

remuneration

leave

protection

association right and personnel representation

social security and pension

cessation of activity

discipline.

The legislation regarding state employees mentions:

practice conditions

hiring and cancellation

pension

contractual specificities

Collective bargaining.

In your answer, please refer specifically to elements such as recruitment procedures, pay (see also below), working time, work organisation, job security and employment protections, social security.

The collective bargaining agreement for Central government workers broaches the following items:

Hiring conditions;

Trial period;

General working conditions;

Working time;

Pay conditions;

Reimbursement of clothing expenses;

Family and exceptional benefits;

Financial conditions if certain events occur (maternity, for instance);

Bonuses and pensions;

Leaves;

Retirement conditions;

Disciplinary procedures.

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reform of employment regulation in the central government sector since the 1990s has affected:

The status of workers.

It is worth mentioning a development in 2003 here consisting of reforming the status of civil servants. Here are the main changes resulting from this reform;

The introduction of part-time work;

Measures for reconciling family and working life;

Reintegration up to the age of 68;

Recruitment and promotions;Other measures concerning essentially harassment and the disciplinary procedure.

The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

See point 6

Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

None

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reorganisation and restructuring in the central government sector since the 1990s, for instance through the establishment of special agencies or the separation of specific bodies and offices, has affected:

The status of significant groups of workers.

None

The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.

None

Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

None

3. Pay levels and determination

Please indicate:

The presence and relevance of collective bargaining on pay in the central government sector.

Only the pay of Central government workers is regulated by the collective bargaining agreement concerning them.

The number and scope of bargaining units on pay within the central government sector.

The two other civil service statuses are not governed by collective bargaining, as already indicated.

Do minimum wage levels vary across the different bargaining units within the central government sector? Are there common minimum wage levels in the whole public sector?

The minimum wage levels of civil servants are fixed for each grade and echelon by legal provisions and their appendices, and the value corresponding to the relevant index tables. The collective contract for Central government workers provides an annex with a wage bracket containing minimum wages.

Is there a single job classification system for the whole central government sector?

Yes, all the jobs in the national civil service are clearly defined in the Act of 22 June 1963 on the wages of civil servants. An appendix lists all the positions.

Wage levels and wage increases in the central government and private sectors since 2000 (table 4). If there are great variations across bargaining units within the central government sector, please briefly illustrate such variations.

As regards the pay of Central government civil servants and clerical employees, the two wage agreements were signed during the legislative period from 1999 to 2004 covering all Central government civil servants and clerical employees for a total period of five years. As regards the “pay mechanism” therein, it is worth pointing out that the basic indix of government personnel is increased on one January of each year for each of the five years covered by the wage agreements, i.e.:

- 2.5% on 1 January 2000 ;

- 1.0% on 1 January 2001 ;

- 1.6% on 1 January 2002 ;

- 1.6% on 1 January 2003 ;

- 1.6% on 1 January 2004.

The wages of Central government workers are therefore fixed by collective agreement. Insofar as the parallel treatment has been traditionally respected in wage negotiations with the CGFP and those with the workers’ trade unions, the wages provided in the collective agreement are adapted as soon as the pay for civil servants and clerical employees is adjusted.

Table 4. Central government and private sector: wage levels and increases since 2000 (average)
Year Central government Private sector
Level € Annual increase % Level € Annual increase %

2000

No data available

2001

2001

2003

2004

2005

The presence and relevance of variable performance-related pay in the central government sector. Please indicate whether variable pay is particularly relevant in certain bargaining units or organisational areas (for instance, top job positions, officers, or other occupations).

There are no provisions on this front in Luxembourg.

Are there any form of “benchmarking” of wage dynamics in the central government sector with other public sectors or with the private sector? If yes, are industrial relations actors involved in such benchmarking activity?

There are no such activities in Luxembourg.

4. Union Presence and density

Please provide information on:

Trade unions which are present in the various bargaining units of the central government sector, their number, affiliation, representational domain, membership, and the sectoral union density (data by gender). Please fill in the following table:

Table 5. Trade unions
Union Affiliation Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present Membership
Women Men

LCGB(Lëtzebuerger Chrëstleche Gewerkschaftsbond)

The LCGB has indicated that it will no longer provide data concerning it.

“Civil Service” trade union, of the OGB-L (Onofhängegen Gewerkschaftsbond Lëtzebuerg)

At national level, the trade union is affiliated directly with the OGB-L and through the OGB-L, with the CGT-L (General Labour Confederation of Luxembourg). At European level, the trade union is affiliated with the FSESP (European Civil Service Trade Union Confederation) and at international level with the ISP (Civil Service International)

The “Civil Service” trade union is the trade union of all workers in the public and semi-public sector, independently of their status.

The trade union welcomes without drawing any distinction clerical employees or civil servants from administrative and technical departments. So today, the Civil Service OGBL includes people from all professions employed by the Central government or the municipalities. Education civil servants, represented by the Science and Education Union (SEW), and Central government civil servants and employees from the health sector, social and education departments, do not fall under the Civil Service trade union.

Collective agreement of Central government workers

3000

CGFP(General Civil Service Confederation)

The CGFP has no national affiliation. It is directly affiliated at European Level to ICFTU (Independent Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The CGFP is moreover represented in ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation).

The CGFP is a concentration of civil service organisations formed to defend the social, moral, professional and material interests of civil servants and other Central government personnel under contract.

The CGFP is composed of the following organisations :

- General federation of graduates in the service of the State (FEDUSE) ;

- National trade union of teachers (SNE) ;

- General Association of Managers (AGC) ;

- General federation of State forwarding agents (FGEC) ;

- Professional Civil Service Association (APFP) ;

- Professional Police trade union (SPFP) ;

- Association of State employees (AEE) ;

- P&T trade union;

- Association of the State Savings Bank employees (APBCEE) ;

Federation of sectorial associations;

Grouping of individual members.

None

24.000

D (specify name)

         

E (specify name)

         

F (specify name)

         

Total

-

-

-

   

Sectoral union density

-

-

-

   

N.B.: add further rows if required

Please provide information on the diffusion within the central government sector of craft unions, professional unions, or unions which are not affiliated to peak associations.

None

Are there any formal procedures or rules which aim to assess the representativeness of the various unions? If yes, please, briefly illustrate the content of such procedures or rules. Do these procedures or rules affect the access of the various unions to trade union prerogatives or to the bargaining table? If yes, please specify such effects and any possible limitations.

The rules on trade union representation are fixed by the act on collective bargaining agreements of 30 June 2004. The national representation is accorded to the trade unions LCGB, OGB-L and CGFP.

5. Employer representation

Please provide information on:

Who does represent the central government at the bargaining table? Are there specific independent bodies, such as agencies, or negotiations are carried out under the responsibility of political actors, such as ministers?

The government is represented exclusively by the Ministry of the Civil Service and Administrative Reform.

If negotiations are carried out by specific independent bodies, please indicate how they are organised. In particular, specify whether there are guidelines or other directives set by political actors and how the tasks of the independent bodies are carried out. For instance, negotiations have to follow specific stages?

In principle, the purpose of the social dialogue can extent to all questions pertaining to the status of public civil servants, clerical employees and workers. In practice, as a public authority, the government intervenes each time that the subject pertains to a substantial reform of the status of the personnel in question. It should also be pointed out that the government intervenes preferentially in negotiations, consultations or concerted actions on the pay or pension systems. More punctual questions can however be broached in discussions between the trade unions and administrative officials.

If negotiations are carried under the direct responsibility of political actors, please indicate how they are organised. For instance, do negotiations take place under the responsibility of a single ministry, for instance the Finance Ministry, or are they carried out by a delegation or in a different way?

The Ministry of the Civil Service and Administrative Reform is responsible for the negotiations.

Do collective agreements in the central government sector have to pass an ex-post “validation” procedure, for instance to certify their compliance with budget constraints? If present, please briefly illustrate such procedure and the consequences of failure to pass it.

There is no ex-post validation in Luxembourg.

6. Collective bargaining and conflict in central government

The structure of collective bargaining and, in particular, the number and scope of bargaining units, both at central (national) and decentralised (workplace and territorial) levels.

Collective bargaining agreements are negotiated by the most representative trade unions at national level. The collective agreement of Central government workers is the only such agreement on the matter. There is no decentralised level.

The most representative trade union of government civil servants and clerical employees is actually the CGFP, which sees itself as a concentration of its member civil service trade unions. In case of collective dispute, the CGFP is the only one authorised to initiate the conciliation and mediation procedures provided by the act on strikes of 16 April 1979.

Nevertheless, the CGFP does not represent Central government workers. If negotiations are also carried out between the government and the trade unions for workers, it should be noted that the workers are represented by the trade unions of the sector concerned, i.e. the LCGB and the OGB-L.

The trade unions LCGB and OGB-L take into account the results of the negotiations conducted for the civil service by the CGFP. The result of these negotiations, cast as law, is contained in the collective bargaining agreements.

The duration of agreements and the presence and content of peace obligations.

The regularity and intensity of the social dialogue depend on the political will of the respective governments. The law requires periodic negotiations only for Central government manual workers to whom the private sector legislation on collective bargaining agreements applies. This legislation provides in particular that the term of collective bargaining agreements cannot exceed three years. There are no peace obligations in the collective agreement for Central government workers.

The main issues of collective bargaining by referring to the latest renewals.

The OGB-L and the LCGB therefore negotiate the collective agreement of Central government manual workers. The following items have been broached in the most recent negotiations:

Wages;

Vocational training;

Pensions.

Levels and recent trends in conflict.

There is no recent conflict in the national civil service.

The presence and main features of forms of regulation of labour conflict and collective dispute resolution procedures. Please indicate whether such rules are specific to the central government sector, or apply to the whole public sector, or are general and cover both public and private sectors.

The collective bargainings regarding the wages of manual workers lead to the signature of an agreement by the parties, the agreement is obligatory for the parties and governs the working relation till the conclusion of a new agreement.

Regarding the civil servants and employees, there are two situations: when the negotations do not lead to an agreement and when the negociations lead to the signature of a written agreement.

First of all, the negociations can come to an end without the signature of an agreement. The signature of an agreement is not necessary to permit the action of the government. The government can, under the condition of having first applied the conciliation and mediation procedure, disregard the will of the personnel representatives. This situation can be explained by the fact that the regulation applicable to civil servants and employees is set by the legal or regulatory way and not by a contractual mean.

As a consequence, the government can theoritically take no initiative to modify the law or existing regulation (to the detriment of the trade unions) or modify the regulation unilaterally (for example by proposing of project of law or by promulgating a regulation).

Secondly, it can happen that an agreement is effectively signed.

7. Commentary by the NC

Please:

Specify the main issues on the agenda of industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.

Two major trends are emerging. They pertain to electronic governance and the introduction of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) in the civil service.

Cover any further issues which are relevant in your country but have not been covered by previous questions.

None

Provide your own comments on industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.

None

Odette Wlodarski, Prevent

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