Economy & Politics

The union front on the Square is shattered

Ten days after the announcement of an agreement in principle between Aleba and the employers’ representatives of banks and insurance companies, the OGBL and the LCGB denounce “a unique rider”. All of this against a backdrop of questioning of sectoral representativeness.

Jean-Michel HENNEBERT

Ten days after the announcement of an agreement in principle between Aleba and the employers’ representatives of banks and insurance companies, the OGBL and the LCGB denounce “a unique rider”. All of this against a backdrop of questioning of sectoral representativeness.

Usually, Véronique Eischen uses her verve against the representatives of the ABBL or the ACA, to try to influence the course of negotiations. On Thursday, the member of the executive board of the OGBL directed her anger against the Aleba, who has until now been considered an ally. Or at least as a partner facing the management of market players.


The Luxembourg Association of Banks and Bankers Luxembourg (ABBL) and the Association of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies (ACA) announced Monday evening that they had reached an agreement in principle with Aleba for a collective agreement for the years 2021- 2023.


But since an agreement in principle around the next collective agreement on the Place has been found between the employers’ representatives and the union which has barely retained sectoral representativeness, the rag is burning. “The Aleba are the useful idiots of the ABBL”, harshly asserts the trade unionist during a joint press conference with the LCGB. Understand an actor “who goes it alone” and who “does not play in the interests of employees of the financial sector”.

More moderate, Gabriel Di Letizia, president of LCGB-SESF, reports “an unprecedented and incomprehensible situation” which would make impossible any union front within the framework of the negotiations to come. Because, for a few days, the collective agreement in the banking sector has been denounced by the ABBL, triggering in fact the setting up of talks between social partners. For the collective agreement in force, the discussion spanned more than 18 months with a compromise signed reluctantly by the OGBL and the LCGB.


WI. Ranking of banks. Banken, Finanzplatz Luxemburg, Arendt,. Photo: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort

At the time of annual reviews, the “Luxemburger Wort” has played the game of compiling data from players in the banking sector. A ranking of banks which demonstrates the transformations underway within the main pillar of the Luxembourg economy, even before the impact of covid-19.


“We note that adjustments must be made for the good of the employees of the Place”, assures Gabriel Di Letizia with reference to “the very late establishment of new groups” or practices “at the head of the customer” carried out within banking institutions. So many situations denounced in “the common catalog of demands for the OGBL / LCGB”. Namely the integration of the topic of sub-executives in the future text, the establishment of job guarantees or even measures allowing a better balance between professional and personal life. Without forgetting a right to disconnect “all the more important in this period of teleworking where no control exists”, assures Véronique Eischen who wishes to discuss with the Ministry of Labor the issue of sectoral representativeness of Aleba.

Contacted Thursday, Laurent Mertz, secretary general of Aleba, assures us “not to want to respond to these attacks at a discount” and sees in this position taken by the two national unions “an attempt to drag the debate onto the political field and not more social ”. In other words, to question the ability of the union to sign a collective agreement on its own. “What we do not wish to do”, specifies the secretary general who assures that in the event of loss of sectoral representativeness, “Aleba will play the game”.


The Monterey Avenue union had an interview with the Minister of Labor this morning on this subject.


The Ministry of Labor, contacted on Thursday, indicates that this question is proving to be “very complex” since unions with national representativeness “have the right to attend sectoral negotiations” and that they can “request the withdrawal of sectoral representativeness if they consider that the procedures have not been respected ”. And this, without any delay in relation to the holding of social elections. At this stage, Dan Kersch (LSAP), Minister of Labor, does not plan to comment on this issue.


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