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Employers Associations and Trade Unions in Luxembourg

1. Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Organizations

In Luxembourg, the employees’ representation takes place on two levels: mandatory and voluntary. On the one hand, the registration in one of the professional chambers is mandatory.

On the other hand, both employees and employers may be members of a trade union on a voluntary basis. The employees have two general organizations concerning all workers: OGBL (Onofhängege Gewerkschaftsbond Lëtzebuerg) and LCGB (Lëtzebuerger Chrëschtleche Gewerkschaftsbond). The main employer association is named UEL (Union des entreprises luxembourgeoises). Other sectors have their own trade union like in the financial sector (ALEBA).

2. Rights and Importance of Trade Unions

The rate of employees who are members of a trade union is 30%. The principle of union freedom is enshrined in article 11 of the Constitution. By the Law of 12 June 1965 the trade unions received the right to conclude collective agreements and to represent workers. The unions provide information and legal counselling in labour law matters and guarantee improvement of the social situation through the work of the staff delegations.

The legislator has provided five professional chambers, including 3 employer chambers and 2 employee chambers including the main chamber: the Chamber of Employees.

Social peace is the objective in the Luxembourg social model. Employment law decisions are often taken after a consensus between employer chambers, employee chambers and government.

3. Types of Representation

Employers in the private or public sector who regularly employ 15 or more employees are obliged to set up a staff delegation.

Until the next social elections, all private organizations with at least 150 employees, within the past three years, must have established a joint works council, composed of an equal number of employer and employee representatives. The recent law of 23 July 2015 will abolish the joint works councils after the social elections that will take place in November 2018. From the next social elections, there will only be a central staff delegation at the enterprise level.

4. Number of Representatives

The size of the staff delegation and the works council, for the time the institution still exists, varies according to the number of employees represented.

5. Appointment of Representatives

According to the Labour Code, the staff delegates must organise at least six meetings a year including minimum three meetings with the management of the company. Notice must be given at least five days before to the employer.

6. Tasks and Obligations of Representatives

The general mission of the staff delegation is the protection and defence of employees’ interests with respect to working conditions, security of employment and social status.

As from the next social elections, the tasks and duties assigned to the joint works council will be transferred to the staff delegations in companies which had at least 150 staff during the 12 months before the day of the posting of the announcement of elections.

7. Employees’ Representation in Management

Representation in a public limited company:

When a public limited company (“société anonyme”) has 1,000 or more employees over a period of 3 years, the board must have at least 9 members of which one third must be employees.

The same obligation applies for public limited companies in which the state has a participation of at least 25%.

European Work Council:

Undertakings that employ in the European Union through different companies at least 1,000 employees and in Luxembourg at least 150 employees must establish a European Works Council or a procedure for informing and consulting employees.

Representation in European Companies:

A specific representation of employees is also foreseen in European Companies, which are elected by the staff delegates, as well as the creation of a special negotiating body representing the employees.

8. Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies

Each staff delegate must appoint a health and security delegate and a delegate for equal treatment. The health and security delegate has a mission of control and observation and the employer must consult the delegate on important subjects of health and security in the workplace. The mission of the delegate for equal treatment is to defend gender equality in relation to access to employment, training, promotion, remuneration and working conditions.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Luxembourg, please contact Christian Jungers, Partner at KLEYR | GRASSO (www.kleyrgrasso.com) at christian.jungers@kleyrgrasso.com
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