Luxembourg trade unions, the LCGB, the OGBL and the NGL-SNEP, have released a joint statement ahead of the next aviation sector tripartite meeting, scheduled for Thursday 17 September 2020.
Following the tripartite sectoral meeting of 14 July, convened by Luxembourg's Minister of Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, in the presence of the Labour and Finance Ministers, staff representatives met on 20 August and 3 September 2020 with the executive management of Luxair in order to prepare the next tripartite sectoral meeting.
According to the respective trade unions, these meetings saw Luxair's management present an action plan involving overstaffing and measures "directly jeopardising" the social benefits of employees. The LCGB, the OGBL and the NGL-SNEP stressed their clear opposition to such demands, "which are squarely against the spirit of the discussions carried out within the framework of the aviation sector tripartite of 14 July 2020". In response, the trade unions proposed a future plan for maintaining employment and safeguarding the lives of employees.
Despite the ongoing discussions and the mandate given to the social partners at the last tripartite meeting, the trade unions argued that Luxair's management "showed no willingness, or even a total refusal" to conduct discussions or negotiations on the future plan, the tripartite framework and the avenues proposed by the trade unions. The LCGB, the OGBL and the NGL-SNEP maintained that such behaviour "flouts social dialogue".
Convinced that the Luxembourg social model is the only possible response to the challenges of the current crisis, the trade unions called for a plan for the future on the legal basis of the job maintenance plan for Luxair. The unions argued that this future plan should be an integral part of the negotiations and conclusions of the aviation sector tripartite.
The trade unions' proposal provides for the following main social support measures:
- the guarantee of employment for the duration of the plan and that the company will not proceed with any dismissal for reasons not inherent to the person;
- the extension of partial unemployment as an anti-crisis instrument;
- the establishment of a Reclassification Unit (CDR) aimed at keeping all employees in employment and maintaining their employability through the establishment of internal continuing training which is essential in the face of the current crisis;
- the use of temporary labour loan with the employee's right of return;
- the application of legislation on pre-retirement adjustment and pre-retirement adjustment progressive, the latter making it possible to promote the "know-how" of departing employees via training periods which they could be the authors of in the field in order to transmit their knowledge;
- the establishment of a monitoring committee at company level, including the staff delegation and contracting unions, as well as a monitoring committee at the sectoral tripartite level in order to monitor the progress of the various elements covered by the plan and, if necessary, discuss any necessary adjustments.
According to the LCGB, the OGBL and the NGL-SNEP, the general management, by "neglecting" this future plan, has just taken decisions unilaterally against the interests of employees and virtually eliminating all the rights and advantages acquired through social dialogue during the past 40 years, including:
- dismantling careers by eliminating salary advancements linked to seniority beyond 20 years for all employees and beyond 15 years for pilots;
- a three-year wage freeze;
- a three-year suspension of the 13th month bonus;
- the abolition of certain liability premiums;
- a reduction of days of leave to the legal minimum, in particular by eliminating four days off and leave linked to seniority;
- the abolition of the gift for 25 years of service and the retirement bonus;
- a reduction to the legal minimum of the rate for night work and overtime;
- the introduction of paid parking for all employees;
- the abolition of the paid break of 15 minutes;
- the unilateral flexibility of working hours.
The unions concluded in their statement that Luxair's management has been willing to "denigrate its loyal, motivated and committed staff" during the crisis, by classifying many employees as "low performers" and offering no prospect of job retention.