Agreement reached in social and care sector
In November 2001, following various protest actions by workers, a new collective agreement was concluded for Luxembourg's social and care sector. The deal provides for backdated pay rises of approximately 7% for the sector's 5,000 employees, aligning their pay rates with those of state employees.
The Luxembourg social and care sector incorporates hundreds of retirement homes, nursing homes, day centres, home-care services and home-help agencies, employing over 5,000 people. Most of these institutions are regulated by the state, and one of the employees' main long-standing demands has been to have their conditions of employment aligned with those enjoyed by staff in the state sector. This principle was established in a previous collective agreement, but its enactment was a major issue in negotiations over a new agreement in 2001.
The negotiations ground to a halt in April 2001 and from September onwards staff organised protest picket-lines outside a number of care institutions in order to push forward their demands. On 4 November, in response to a call from the Luxembourg Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (Onofhängege Gewerkschafts-Bond Lëtzebuerg, OGB-L) and the Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (Lëtzebuerger Chrëschtleche Gewerkschafts-Bond, LCGB), 700 social and care sector workers demonstrated in the streets of Luxembourg's second-largest town, Esch sur Alzette.
Following this show of strength, the social partners came to an agreement two days later at the National Conciliation Office (Office National de Conciliation). The deal provides for a pay revision equivalent to wage rises of 6.82% for white-collar workers and 6.82% for blue-collar workers. These increases represent an alignment with the public sector, and are backdated for 1999, 2000 and 2001.
The agreement also contains a provision providing more mobility for staff who change employers during their careers, in that they will take with them all their seniority-related rights to their new employer.