Unions not welcome at the “Logementsdësch”

Behind closed doors, a round-table discussion was held this Thursday at the Château de Senningen on how to combat the housing crisis. The government invited not only representatives of the construction industry and the craft sector. The communal syndicate Syvicol, the Association of Luxembourg Banks (ABBL) and the Union of Luxembourg Enterprises (UEL) also took part in the meeting. No less than seven (!) ministers – almost half of the entire government – participated in the discussion. This shows the importance that political decision-makers attach to this round table.

Workers’ representatives, on the other hand, were not welcome. The three nationally representative unions, OGBL, CGFP and LCGB, expressed their surprise on social networks ahead of the “Logementsdësch” that they were not at the table for such an important issue that affects everyone.

In a recent radio interview, the prime minister emphasized that the purpose of the round table was to analyze how to implement the housing measures included in the coalition agreement. This would not be possible to do alone. The idea is to bring together all the parties involved (public authorities and private operators) to draw up a list of measures and a concrete timetable, he said at the end of January. Working groups will then be set up before the measures are presented to Parliament.

In his government statement, the prime minister repeatedly emphasized that the black-blue coalition would tackle future challenges through social dialogue. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. From what we hear, the prime minister has suggested that UEL president Michel Reckinger should chair the private sector’s “housing sector” delegation. Meanwhile, the country’s three largest unions, with more than 155,000 members, have been excluded. Is this a serious social dialogue?

Like-minded people among themselves

Employers’ representatives were full of praise for the black-blue coalition only recently. There were many reasons to suppose that the fate of the country would be guided by an “employer-friendly government”. Unfortunately, this suspicion turned out to be true.

Instead of involving all stakeholders in the fight against the housing crisis, the government seems to prefer to discuss one of Luxembourg’s biggest problems only with like-minded people.

In order to maintain political credibility, the convening of a “housing tripartite” would have been a good idea. “We ask the government to inform us as soon as possible about the discussions (…) and we expect to be involved in the next meeting”, is the joint appeal of the OGBL, CGFP and LCGB to the political leaders.

Communicated on February 22, 2024