Liberté d'association syndicale
Freedom to join a trade union is guaranteed under article 11 of the Luxembourg Constitution. Employees and employers are organized on voluntary basis in trade unions, trade and professional federation. The main aim of the trade unions is to negotiate collective bargaining agreements. Unions also represent employees in proceedings prior to collective redundancies and the proceedings of information in case of transfer of undertaking. Unions can also raise claims on behalf of their members during their employment in the enterprise or after termination of their employment contract. Other than negotiating a collective agreement, unions are involved in negotiating a social plan (about collective redundancies) or an Employment Safeguard Plan.
There is also provision for staff delegates and joint work councils. Only the national representative union (the representative status is granted on fulfillment of various conditions) is allowed to conclude CBAs. A national representative union can either cover all sectors of the economy or a specific sector.
sources: §11 of the Constitution of Luxembourg 1868, last revised in 2009
Liberté de convention collective
Collective bargaining is regulated under the Labour Code. A collective bargaining agreement is a contract between trade unions for employees and associations representing employers or companies operating in the same or similar field. Only a national representative union or a trade union representative of an important sector of economy can negotiate a collective agreement. Luxembourg has a chamber system in place. There are three chambers for employers (Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Trades and the Chamber of Agriculture) and two for employees (Chambre des salariés Luxembourg and the Chamber of Civil Servants and Public Employees).
The most important level of collective bargaining is sectoral or company level (with company level being the most dominant). Sectoral level agreements initially apply to only those companies that belong to an employers' association however they are extended by the government to the entire sector. Sectoral agreements are the norm in banking, insurance and private security sectors. On the other hand, company level agreements prevail in retail sector, paper sector, railway sector and the hotel and restaurant sector.
The Labour Code provides that collective agreements covering all of an organization's staff may allow for the possibility of excluding or envisaging divergent conditions for supervisory or support functions that are not directly related to the execution of the enterprise's core activity.
A collective agreement has to indicate identity of parties; the professional and territorial scope of CBA; date of entry into force, duration and termination time; working conditions to be negotiated between the parties including at least conditions of hiring and dismissal, working hours and rest periods, annual leave, system of wages and salaries by occupational categories. A collective agreement must provide for increase in pay for night work (which cannot be less than 15%); increase in pay for difficult, dangerous and unhealthy work; detailed rules on application of the principle of equal pay for equal work between men and women workers; detailed rules on fighting against moral and sexual harassment and sanctions that can be taken in that framework.
The minimum term of a collective agreement is 6 months while the maximum term is 3 years from the date of its entry into force. A collective agreement may be terminated in whole or in part, prior to the maturity date, giving notice to be determined by the collective labor agreement. This notice is 3 months prior to the date of maturity.
The Economic and Social Council in Luxembourg, established under the 1966 Act, is the permanent consultative forum for country’s economic and social guidance. It is also termed as the house of permanent social dialogue. ESC is a tripartite consultative institution with 18 members each from worker and employer groups. Three members are appointed directly by the government. These are the senior officials and experts in the fields of economics, finance, labour and social security. The Council organizes support for national social dialogue, issues opinions on country’s economic, social and financial situation in the first quarter of the year, and issue opinions, at the government’s request, on issues of general interest.
Sources: §161-166 of Labour Code 2006, last amended in 2017; http://www.ces.public.lu/fr.html
Droit de grève
The Constitution recognizes the right to strike. However, the right to strike is strictly regulated in Luxembourg. Absence of a worker from work because of an occupational strike initiated legally does not constitute a valid or serious reason for dismissal. During the term of a collective agreement, both parties are required to refrain from actions (such as strike or lockout) that may jeopardize its fair execution.
There is a social peace obligation clause in collective agreements. Thus, the parties agree to maintain during the currency of a CBA. In the event of emergence of a collective dispute, it is obligatory to refer such dispute to Office National de Conciliation (ONC). ONC has three main tasks: solving collective disputes concerning working conditions; settling collective disputes where a collective agreement is not yet reached; and giving notice of demands for the extension of collective bargaining agreements and conventions concerning national or intersectoral social dialogue.
sources: §11 of the Constitution of Luxembourg 1868, last revised in 2009; §124(11) & 164(11) of Labour Code 2006, last amended in 2017