Luxembourg: Latest working life developments – Q1 2017

Reform of the guaranteed minimum income, new collective bargaining in the banking sector and a major dispute in the health and social care sector are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Luxembourg in the first quarter of 2017.

Reform of the guaranteed minimum income

The government presented a bill (n°7113) to parliament on 27 January to reform the legislation on guaranteed minimum income (GMI). The draft law pursues four major objectives and seeks to increase the activation rate of the beneficiaries and, thereby:

  • improve their social inclusion and stability;
  • encourage their labour market activation and professional integration;
  • combat child poverty and the poverty of single households with children;
  • reduce administrative procedures by better regulation strategies.

In order to achieve these objectives, the role of the National Service for Social Action (SNAS) and that of the public employment agency (ADEM), which together managed the social and professional integration of beneficiaries, will be clarified.

Under existing legislation, SNAS has the leading role in the management of the beneficiaries, but the bill stipulates that ADEM will assume this role with the new GMI, which is to be called social inclusion revenue (REVIS). ADEM will establish a profile of every new beneficiary and determine whether they can be integrated into the labour market. If not, beneficiaries will be dealt with by the successor to SNAS, the new National Office for Social Inclusion (ONIS). The income per household will also be recalculated on a new basis to be in line with the social minimum income. The draft law also stipulates certain controls and anti-fraud measures.

Negotiations start for a new agreement in banking

The collective labour agreement in the banking sector ended in 2016. The social partners have opened negotiations on a new collective agreement covering 26,000 employees.

The unions involved are the Luxembourg Association of Bank and Insurance Employees (ALEBA), the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Luxembourg (OGBL) and the Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (LCGB).

The negotiations with the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL) had a shaky start as the employer association presented no proposals for the new agreement, which led to differences of interpretation by the trade unions. OGBL and LCGB felt this absence of communication meant the employers wished to reduce the collective agreement to a minimum, while ALEBA argued that the employer association needed only to react to the unions’ proposals, rather than make its own suggestions.

Nevertheless, the social partners have set up four working groups to negotiate on the following topics:

  • classification and wages;
  • employability and training;
  • working time organisation;
  • well-being.

ABBL emphasised that there is no pressure to come to an agreement.

Major dispute in health and social care sector

In 2014, the government agreed with OGBL, LCGB and the General Confederation of Public Service (CGFP) that the public sector wage agreement, including a better fit between careers and qualifications, would be fully integrated into the social care sector’s collective agreement. But although the wage agreement was implemented for civil servants in 2015, it has not been applied to the social care collective agreement.

To rectify this, OGBL began an arbitration procedure as stipulated by the law of 2004. However, the president of OGBL, André Roeltgen, declared during a press conference on 28 March that the union had only triggered the procedure to respect the law and that, whatever happened, the public sector wage agreement must be implemented in the social care collective agreement. He then announced the beginning of strike preparations in the social care sector.

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