Agreement concluded for white-collar employees in iron and steel

Download article in original language : LU9704105NFR.DOC

A separate agreement for white-collar employees in the Luxembourg iron and steel was concluded in March 1997, despite efforts in negotiations to create a single agreement for both white- and blue-collar staff.

In negotiations, the social partners consistently aimed at a single collective agreement for both white-collar and blue-collar staff in Luxembourg's iron and steel industry, but differences of opinion led to a split in the workforce and two separate agreements. A collective agreement for blue-collar workers was signed at the end of January 1997, while another agreement for white-collar employees was concluded on 7 March 1997.

It is interesting to note that the two agreements did not adopt the same approach. The explanation for this may lie in the fact that white-collar workers are represented by the LCGB, and manual workers are represented by a different union, the OGB-L.

Over the last 20 years, the Luxembourg iron and steel industry has undergone major upheaval, with new structures, an electrical division, as well as a workforce restructured across the company's sites and, if needs be, having to appear before a "regrading committee". The recent negotiations were therefore conducted with the ulterior motive of adapting the collective agreements to these new structures.

The method selected by blue-collar workers consisted of a collective agreement covering only 1996; this was linked to a decision to open fresh negotiations afterwards, and provided for the payment of a one-off bonus of LUF 12,000, or 12% of a manual worker's gross average monthly pay.

By contrast, white-collar workers went for a contract covering both 1996 and 1997, so that they could, "within a framework of an unbroken contractual arrangement, discuss matters calmly with a view to achieving a modern contract that is adapted to future structures", while at the same time introducing a new profit-sharing bonus.

The provisions of the white-collar workers' agreement are as follows:

  • payment, backdated to 1996, of a profit-sharing bonus of 8% of monthly salary;
  • payment, as from February 1997, of a monthly profit-sharing bonus based on increased productivity in establishments within the Luxembourg iron and steel industry. This bonus will range from a minimum of 0.25% of gross monthly pay to a maximum of 1.75%. Factors that go to make up the profit-sharing bonus and reference values will be redefined whenever the collective agreement is negotiated, but the 0.25% minimum is guaranteed; and
  • raising the ceiling on the "leaving present" from LUF 10,020 to LUF 11,805 (index: 100). This now stands at LUF 64,771 (current index: 548.67) for the cohort of employees born in 1940.
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