Economy & Politics

A prudent but profitable strategy

At the microphone of RTL, the Minister of Labor and Deputy Prime Minister returned on Saturday to the crisis situation that the country has been going through since March. He also defended the government’s choices in his fight against covid-19.

Anne-Sophie DE LA BARRE DE NANTEUIL-BEDEL

At the microphone of RTL, the Minister of Labor and Deputy Prime Minister returned on Saturday to the crisis situation that the country has been going through since March. He also defended the government’s choices in his fight against covid-19.

A situation “not ideal” and “exceptional”. It is in these terms that Dan Kersch (LSAP) spoke of the state of crisis on RTL on Saturday. And if he welcomed the citizens questioning this situation, the Deputy Prime Minister, however, wanted to defend the government’s strategy in its fight against the global health crisis.

Because in exceptional situations, exceptional measures. Protecting the health of citizens remains “a priority”. Government decisions, he explains on the show Background, are thus based on “health conditions” taking into account “potential collateral damage”.

New flexibility measures

A prudent strategy defended by the minister. Because unlike other countries, Luxembourg has only four hospitals and must manage population movements, especially with cross-border workers. Reason enough, according to him, to redouble vigilance and not to “reach the limits”. And if the figures for new infections tend to drop, this is, for the Minister, the result of this cautious strategy.

The Minister of Labor, however, hopes for a rapid return to normal. Certain sectors, such as construction sites and shops, have already been able to resume their activities. New easing measures could however be announced Monday, following the Council of Ministers, he said.

The world of work will nonetheless emerge deeply affected by the crisis, on many levels. Because the workers had to adapt. Debated for a long time, remote work has thus been put in place. According to the latest Statec publication, 69% of employees in the country have been teleworking since the start of the pandemic.

Telework under discussion

But if this mode has proven to be effective, the question still needs to be debated. The legal framework, still too restrictive, requires adaptations. The rights of employers and employees must therefore be safeguarded, underlines the Minister. In other words, if some must be able to maintain control, others must retain their rights to free time. A search for understanding discussed with the social partners.

As for people with partial unemployment, the minister recalled that the state has spent 741 million euros so far. According to him, without this tool, the number of job seekers would have skyrocketed. But Dan Kersch says he is concerned that companies have often only offered fixed-term contracts since the start of the crisis. The pandemic has thus created new major challenges that the minister claims to keep an eye on.

Besides these questions, Dan Kersch does not forget his role as Minister of Sports. At RTL’s microphone, he is delighted with the (re) discovery of citizens’ physical activities as a hobby. The Minister wishes to maintain this enthusiasm by developing offers aimed at “encouraging residents to practice a sporting activity”. Wednesday evening, the government had announced a first measure in this direction, increasing the purchase premium for bikes from 25 to 50% of the price excluding tax.

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