Social dialogue promoted at European level, but scorned at national level


While social dialogue is given pride of place at European level, it is simply ignored at national level. UEL calls for the withdrawal from the legislative procedure of the bill n° 7864 aimed at introducing a system of protection against moral harassment in the workplace.

The European Union is stepping up initiatives to promote social dialogue at both European and national level. For example, the recent directive (EU) 2022/2041 on adequate minimum wages in the European Union proposes to establish a framework to promote collective bargaining with a view to setting wages. Even more recently, in January 2023 the European Commission proposed a Council Recommendation COM(2023)38 setting out how EU countries can further strengthen social dialogue and collective bargaining at national level, and a communication COM(2023)40 on promoting social dialogue in Europe.

In Luxembourg, while the social model is historically rooted in a tradition of social dialogue, the Government and the Chamber of Deputies are nevertheless flouting its foundations at national level in the context of a legislative procedure on protection against moral harassment, the course of which seems unstoppable. In Luxembourg, there is an inter-professional agreement concluded on 25 June 2009 between the social partners dealing with harassment and violence at work, which was declared to be of general application by the Grand Ducal regulation of 15 December 2009. This agreement, based on a European agreement, defines harassment and violence in the workplace and provides for measures to prevent and manage acts of harassment and violence in companies.

In July 2021, the government completely disregarded this cross-industry agreement, which is still in force, and tabled a bill on moral harassment in the workplace. In addition to showing contempt for social dialogue in Luxembourg, UEL condemns the major legal uncertainty that companies will face as a result of the simultaneous coexistence of two regimes, one stemming from the future law, the other from the existing cross-industry agreement, and their inconsistencies on identical subjects (definition of harassment, preventive measures, management measures, procedures, etc.).

Following the example of the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Trades, which have also requested this on two occasions in their joint opinions, UEL can only reiterate its request to the Government, and in particular to the Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy as the author of the text, to withdraw the bill n° 7864 from the legislative procedure. The credibility of the Government and the Chamber of Deputies in their desire to preserve social dialogue in Luxembourg and to promote it in the future is at stake. Speeches and initiatives on social dialogue are only of value if they are accompanied by the necessary action.