No, the social elections were not won by a so-called union of “neutrals”

If we are to believe some of the comments on the results of the social elections – and especially the graphic presentation of them – a so-called union of “neutrals” won the elections. But to say that this happened is totally absurd.

The “neutrals” are anything but a coherent entity or a homogeneous bloc. In fact, these lists of non-union candidates reflect quite heterogeneous realities:

  • pro-employer lists
  • workers who, in the absence of other candidates, are nominated by the employer as delegates
  • lists that, especially in sectors with a weak union presence, defend workers without being affiliated to a union
  • union members who are afraid to identify themselves as such

To speak of “neutral” lists as belonging to a homogeneous bloc is in fact to give an artificial identity to a collection of thousands of isolated, unrelated candidates or lists. There is no bloc of “neutrals” alongside the various union blocs, only a multitude of small, fragmented entities.

Moreover, the non-union delegates are mainly found in small companies. In companies with more than 100 employees (subject to proportional representation), the OGBL alone has more elected delegates than all the “neutral” lists put together. However, the total number of workers in companies with more than 100 employees is obviously much higher than the number of workers in smaller companies.

The Fédération des artisans (craftsmen’s federation) is now exploiting this misrepresentation to claim that nationally representative unions are a “marginal phenomenon” with no real presence in the workplace. And to call for legislative reforms to “take into account” this allegedly diminished weight of the unions.

What the Fédération des Artisans wants is to be able to negotiate collective agreements with “neutral” delegations, delegations that have no union support, no financial resources, no independence from their employer, little or no training in their role as delegates, etc. Worsening the working and wage conditions of hundreds of thousands of employees in Luxembourg is the sole objective of the Fédération des Artisans.

It is clear that the OGBL and its thousands of newly elected delegates will use every means to oppose any project in this direction, a project which would in any case be contrary to the new European directive on the social minimum wage – a directive which clearly defines that collective bargaining is to be conducted “between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organizations, on the one hand, and one or more trade unions, on the other”.

It should be clear to everyone that only a strong trade union can effectively defend the interests of workers.


OGBL press release,
March 14, 2024