On Friday 22 May 2020, a delegation of the LCGB, OGBL and NGL-SNEP trade unions met with Luxembourg's Minister of Mobility and Public Works, Francois Bausch, to discuss the future of Luxembourg aviation, which risks being permanently affected by the effects of the current health crisis.
according to the unions' statement, even if the sector has proven to be an essential pillar for the functioning of our society, it will undoubtedly have to suffer consequences and repercussions for an extended period. The unions stressed their priority with regard to job security and that employees cannot in any case suffer loss or deterioration of their social benefits. The health and safety of employees, the safeguarding of the lives of employees and the maintenance of social benefits, remain priorities.
To guarantee the health and safety of both passengers and employees, the unions demanded:
• coordination between the various companies and authorities to put in place clear safety instructions to be applied at the various places and crossing points within the airport terminal and on planes;
• the introduction of COVID-19 tests on a voluntary basis for employees.
To soften the repercussions of this economic crisis on the aviation sector, the unions demanded:
• the establishment of a working group on the future strategy of Luxair on the future vision of its four operational divisions, namely Cargo, the Airline, LuxairTours and LuxairServices. Staff representatives and unions should be part of this working group;
• guarantees for the retention of all jobs to avoid fears of layoffs, by the creation of structures of management of overstaffing comparable to the cell of reclassification (CDR) in the steel industry;
• the introduction of assistance to aviation companies when necessary, in order to guarantee the survival of companies, the maintenance of employment and the protection of employees' social benefits. Many EU governments have decided to provide such financial assistance to the aviation sector;
• the improvement and extension of partial unemployment as an anti-crisis instrument;
• limiting the use of precarious employment contracts (temporary workers, fixed-term contracts, seasonal workers, "contractors", etc.);
• fight at European level against social dumping in the aviation sector and the introduction of social criteria at the level of European aid.
The unions deplored the lack of social dialogue from the start of the crisis, including the lack of involvement of staff delegations in the preparation of the restart plan and the lack of concrete information so necessary to avoid speculation and future concerns.
According to the unions, durint the meeting, the Minister stressed the strategic importance of the aviation sector for the national economy and expressed his willingness to support companies in difficulty. The Minister also supported the unions' demand for the establishment of a working group on the future to be defined for Luxair and even proposed the convening of a sectoral tripartite for aviation, at the latest in autumn 2020. The Minister announced that he wanted to set up a COVID-19 screening test strategy for employees as part of the resumption of activities at the airport.