What is a collective labour agreement?

The collective labour agreement is a contract on labour relations and terms concluded between representatives of employees and the employer or the employer’s representatives.

Who are the co-contractors on the employer side?

The co-contractors on the employer’s side may be:

  • an individual company;
  • one or more professional employers’ organisations;
  • a group of companies, or a group of businesses whose production, activity or profession is of the same type, or which constitute an economic and social entity, if the parties entitled to contract so decide.

What is an economic and social entity?

An economic and social entity is a set of undertakings or entities, even if they have autonomous and/or distinct legal personalities, which do not constitute ­independent and/or autonomous units, but which show a concentration of managerial powers and identical and complementary activities, and a community of employees linked by identical, similar or complementary interests, with, ­in particular, a comparable social status.

Who are the representatives on the employee side?

The co-contractors on the employee side are one or more employee trade unions meeting the conditions set out in Articles L. 161-3 to L. 161-8 of the Labour Code.

What is a trade union within the meaning of collective bargaining legislation?

A trade union is a professional grouping which:

  • has a structured internal organisation;
  • is intended to defend the professional interests and collective representation of their members and to improve their living and working conditions;
  • enjoys independence from their co-contractors, resulting in organizational and financial capacity and independence.

Which unions are eligible for collective bargaining?

There are three kinds of unions:

  • unions that have overall representativeness on the national level;
  • trade unions that are representative in a particularly important sector of the economy;
  • “non-rights” unions, who do not have the right to participate automatically in the negotiations but who, under certain conditions, can be admitted.


What conditions must a union meet to be deemed representative overall nationally?

Such a union must:

  • have obtained, in the last elections to the Chamber of Employees, an average of at least 20% of the votes;
  • have an effective activity in the majority of the economic branches of the country, established on the basis of the last elections of the staff delegations.

What conditions must a trade union meet in order to be representative in a particularly important sector of the economy ("sector" representativeness)?

In order to qualify for recognition as representative in a particularly important sector of the economy, a trade union must:

  • have presented lists and been elected at the last elections to the Chamber of Employees;
  • have obtained either:
    • 50% of the votes for the group of the Chamber of Employees where the group coincides entirely with the scope of the collective agreement in question;
    • Where the group of the Chamber of Employees does not entirely coincide with the field of application of the collective agreement concerned, or if the group is made up entirely or partially of employees not covered by a collective labour agreement, 50% of the votes in the last elections to the staff delegations in the sector. In this case, only the votes received by the candidates who stood under the acronym of the applicant trade union shall be taken into consideration, excluding so-called neutral candidates.

In which sector can sector representation be obtained?

A sector is automatically considered to be particularly important in the Luxembourg economy if its employment represents at least 10% of total private sector employment.

The sector in question must feature more than one company.

What is the procedure for recognition or withdrawal of general and sector representativeness nationally?

In order to obtain the status of a trade union with general or sector representativeness nationally, the trade union concerned must submit a substantiated application, with supporting documents, to the Minister of Labour.

A decision to withdraw the status of a trade union with general or sector representativeness nationally shall be taken by the Minister following a petition that may be submitted by any trade union that can demonstrate a genuine and current interest.

What is meant by a "non-rights" union?

A “non-rights” or a union having no a priori rights is a union that can participate in the negotiation of a collective agreement under certain conditions.

Specifically, this entails:

  • trade unions having obtained at least 50% of the votes in the last elections for staff representatives in companies falling within the scope of the collective labour agreement;
  • of unions unanimously admitted to negotiations by the unions with general and sector representativeness nationally that are members of the negotiating committee.