UEL will not support an artificial social dialogue


After consultation with its members, UEL has decided not to take part in the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Labour and Employment (CPTE) on 25 April 2023. In addition to the fact that the meeting was convened at too short notice, the employers’ organisations cannot support the organisation of a CPTE lasting an hour and a half directly followed by a press conference convened for a specific time. Such an organisation does not allow for an in-depth discussion with the social partners on the conclusions of the LISER study on the reduction of working time, when these will immediately be shared with the general public.

UEL considers that this CPTE has not been adequately prepared and notes in particular that:

The Minister invited the social partners at the last minute – Thursday 20 April 2023 – to a CPTE on Tuesday 25 April 2023 for the presentation of this LISER study organised on the same day.
Although the invitation was sent relatively late, UEL had left the door open by asking to be provided with, on the one hand, the LISER study or at least a summary with conclusions and, on the other hand, the main points that the Minister intended to address during the subsequent press conference.
The Ministry replied that it could not comply with UEL’s request, as the study would be presented by LISER during the CPTE.
Without prior sharing of the results, UEL and more generally the social partners were presented with a done deal.
The proposed timing of a CPTE at 1pm, followed by a press conference, left no room for real social dialogue.
The CPTE was merely a formality designed to enable the Minister to tick the social dialogue box.

As for the LISER study, it is quite astonishing, not to say revealing, that the Minister of Labour presented this study to the LSAP parliamentary group before the Government Council. The question arises as to who commissioned the study: was it the Minister of Labour on behalf of the Government, or rather the LSAP candidate in the forthcoming elections?

UEL considers that this is a political study which has been commissioned and promoted in an electoral context. This hardly corresponds to what is at stake and to the potential consequences of a reduction in working time.

The management of this dossier by the Minister, without any discussion with the social partners, either before or after the study was carried out, only serves to underline the fact that social dialogue has lost momentum in recent years, and has been carried out – when necessary – for the sake of form.

Finally, UEL specifies that it remains available to participate in a CPTE on this same subject as long as it is convened within an appropriate timeframe and in due form. With this in mind, UEL will not fail to communicate, in due course and after analysis, on the LISER study as such.