Luxembourg trade union the LCGB issued a statement today stressing the importance of an efficient and sustainable exit strategy for leaving the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdown. 

Following recent news that the government would present its exit strategy for the current health crisis in the near future, the LCGB has emphasised that an effective and socially and economically sustainable transition from confinement to pandemic management and control in Luxembourg is of the utmost importance. More specifically, the union maintained that the government will need to develop a coherent strategy which, by protecting the health of all citizens, will strengthen the Grand Duchy and its workforce after the crisis.

Above all, the resumption of activities must be carried out while protecting everyone's health, according to the LCGB. To be able to guarantee a controlled resumption, the union has requested that the government defines clear and precise security rules under which companies can work, provides the required safety equipment and ensures the strict application of all safety regulations.

In order to protect the health of employees and consumers and to prevent a recurrence of an infection wave, the LCGB has also called for the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 tests before returning to work.

Concerning the Luxembourg economy, the LCGB has welcomed the government's financial package to support a national economic recovery, but recalled that any recovery will have to be done in respect of the rights and interests of employees. The union confirmed that it will not accept any dismissals in this context and requested the absolute extension of government measures not only until the end of the state of crisis, but until the last fallout of the crisis has passed in order to soften the general economic effects. 

In its statement, the LCGB also presented some potential opportunities brought about by the crisis, namely strengthening the rights and achievements of employees for the post-crisis period. The union has thus requested that the government assesses the measures put in place recently to draw the right lessons and conclusions for tomorrow, particularly with regard to partial unemployment which the LCGB has described as essential but insufficient; the union continues to demand a 100% wage guarantee from the government in the context of partial unemployment linked to COVID-19. For the post-crisis period, the LCGB has also demanded a general improvement in the unemployment benefit by guaranteeing that the amount corresponds during the entire benefit period to 90% of the last remuneration with the contribution limit as upper limit (five times the minimum social wage).

Similarly, the LCGB has once again called for the permanent removal of the 78-week sickness limit and a substantial increase in the minimum social wage. Concerning social plans and bankruptcies, the union has reiterated its demand for strengthened of wage rights, including the opening of the right to unemployment benefits from the day of bankruptcy.

In addition, the LCGB has requested the immediate withdrawal of the 60-hour work week measure, introduced during the current state of emergency, with the easing of containment measures and the gradual resumption of economic activities.

While the LCGB welcomed the rapid implementation of simplified digital services at the employment agency ADEM and at the health level, among other areas, the union has requested that such services be maintained and consolidated generally for the post-crisis period to accelerate administrative simplification and shape the organisation of the Grand Duchy within the fourth industrial revolution.

The LCGB also again requested the creation of structures for managing overstaffing comparable to the reclassification cell (CDR) of the steel industry in other economic sectors which have been hit hard by the current health crisis in order to allow a supervision of people who are victims of layoffs.