The collective agreement and its benefits! – Élections sociales 2019 – OGBL Secteur Financier

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Unity equals strength: The collective agreement and its benefits!

There you are, you have been hired by a company and the work contract has been signed. During the interview, you were presented the working conditions, such as how many days you have off, how much you get paid, your working time; conditions which you either directly accepted or tried to renegotiate. However, faced with a recruiter, it is not always easy to renegotiate the offer and the margin of manoeuvre is often very limited. This is why it is important
to have collective agreements (CCT), which are concluded between trade unions, staff representatives (meaning staff delegates) and the company. Having to face the employer, a strong trade union delegation with real bargaining power will be able to negotiate benefits which go beyond national labour law.

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Collective bargaining agreements:

Collective agreements are a useful and necessary tool to revise work organisation and conditions as well as wages in a company, a group of companies or within a whole sector. It is a particular arrangement, in addition to labour law, based on the specific needs of the company and/or sector.

This type of negotiation is a means to defend the rights of the workers as collective agreements often foresee more favourable conditions than the law:

– Vacation days             – Notice of termination policy

– Wages                        – Working time

– Cases of illness           – …

– Bonuses

to name solely a few areas where a collective agreement can accomplish significant improvements.

Hence, collective agreements can make it possible for employees to benefit from wage increases, to have a salary scale with automatic revaluations and/or to be classified in the appropriate professional grade or category.

Extra pay for night shifts:

Furthermore, and contrary to public opinion, extra pay for night shifts is not regulated by labour law but by collective bargaining agreements. Indeed, labour law may foresee that collective agreements must ensure night work bonuses of at least 15% of the salary. For its part, the OGBL regularly negotiates collective agreements which include a pay-up of 20% or more for night shifts.

Trade union demands reflect those of the workers:

It is important to highlight that the demands of a trade union during the negotiations for
a collective agreement always reflect those of the workers. Employees are always welcome to speak up and express their opinion about what the collective agreement should include as well as about the finished draft of the negotiated agreement itself. As an example, the employees of Engie Cofely, an energy service company, will have the opportunity to choose between a supplementary pension plan or a higher salary increase.

Tomorrow’s world of work:

Currently, workers are often under a lot of pressure, caused by globalisation, robotisation and artificial intelligence. Facing these challenges, our labour law is often insufficient and inadequate to deal with them effectively and leaves many issues unaddressed. In order to avoid giving employers a “blank check”, this fast-changing world of work needs clear limits and guidelines, negotiated in cooperation with the social partners and employee representatives. For example, the OGBL was recently able to negotiate a “right to disconnect” for over 1,800 employees in the collective bargaining agreement of the University of Luxembourg.

Furthermore, the quick-paced evolution now also often demands new sets of professional skills. Therefore, it is crucial that employees are given the opportunity to adapt themselves accordingly. This is why the OGBL regularly concludes collective agreements which include an individual right to training for each and every employee. Take the collective agreement of the banking sector as well as the insurance sector. In the banking sector, the training budget has for example been increased by 1,5% in 2018 and employees in the insurance sector have an individual right to training of minimum 40 hours per year.

Evolution of the Collective bargaining agreements:

However, we have noticed a worrying trend over the last 80 years. Collective bargaining agreement coverage is declining in our country and in many countries all over Europe. One reason for this trend is the increase of small and medium businesses making it more difficult to negotiate a collective agreement for each company. The people benefiting from this are foremost employers and shareholders. The right to a collective agreement sadly only remains a theory for thousands of workers. This is why the OGBL calls for an extension of trade union bargaining rights, for a modern and progressive collective bargaining policy. The existing legislation is no longer suitable for the current developments in the Luxembourgish economy. The reform needs to specifically bring about an increase in collective bargaining coverage. Furthermore, we need a sectoral reform, implemented through the harmonisation of working conditions, wages as well as superior minimum standards in comparison to the legal norms within the economic sectors.

In order to have an efficient system of collective bargaining to protect and strengthen workers’ rights and to fight against the increase of social inequalities, we need a strong, united trade union and staff representatives. This is why it is so important to support the OGBL, Luxembourg’s No. 1 trade union, in the social elections of March 2019.

Our demands:

  • The OGBL demands salary increases and a positive revaluation of professional careers.
  • Job security is an absolute priority for the OGBL.
  • Workers’ rights need to be respected while individuals are transferring from one company to another.
  • The OGBL is fighting for an improvement of working conditions: a better organisation of working time, a reduction of working time, compliance with the law, correct declaration and payment of overtime, better reconciliation between private and working life, etc.
  • We are ready to meet the challenges of digitalisation head-on: concrete proposals are needed to ensure effective cooperation between employee representatives and employers to address issues, to ensure life-long learning and training opportunities, to ensure job security as well as health, safety and well-being at the work place.
  • Finally, and foremost, we call for a reform of the law on collective agreements. It needs to be modernised and the evolution of the Luxembourgish economy needs to be taken into account. Above all, the reform needs to lead to an increase of collective bargaining agreement coverage throughout the whole economy.

Support the OGBL, the No. 1 trade union in Luxembourg.

For better work, a better life, become a member and vote for OGBL Finance and Services on March 12th, 2019 social elections.

Vote for OGBL, Luxembourg’s Number 1 trade union.

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