Bank CLA: clarification from ALEBA

PRESS RELEASE :

Bank CLA: clarification from ALEBA

ALEBA is aware of the letter sent by the union OGBL on Monday 7 May 2018, regarding the ongoing negotiations of the new Collective Labour Agreement for Bank Employees. “What we take issue with above all,” stated Secretary General Laurent Mertz, “is the lack of loyalty, which poses a real threat to the negotiations. Indeed, there was a consensus, on paper, at common trade union front level that there should be discretion as to the content of discussions, and it is very disappointing that OGBL did not keep its promise on what were probably purely electoral grounds. The discussions are technical, wide-ranging and complex, and shining a spotlight on them at this point is not helpful. It is not at all in the best interests of employees in the sector. However, it does speak volumes as regards OGBL’s willingness to actually achieve our goals.”

ALEBA does not therefore wish to comment on the substance of the information published by the socialist union. However, the largest union in the financial sector would nevertheless like to make clear that although the initial shared demands have not yet been completely met, ABBL did change its opinion on certain points, understanding and aligning itself, albeit partially, with several legitimate union demands. “Naturally, the new Collective Labour Agreement will differ in a fundamental way from the previous version. But, is that not also what we were striving for: a modern, simplified contract that takes account of the changing nature of banking sector professions? On the financial front, each party has had to make concessions, but that is all part and parcel of the negotiation process. For ALEBA, an organisation that prides itself on being constructive and open-minded, this is not a problem as long as the spirit of our demands is respected and concessions are reciprocal.”

Indeed, ALEBA wishes to reiterate that the negotiations form a “whole” and that although certain matters are still under discussion and common ground remains to be found, other developments, particularly with regard to remuneration, represent a real opportunity for sector employees. “If we consider, for example, what is expected to replace the June Bonus, it is certain that no one will miss out, quite the contrary,” added Laurent Mertz, replacing Gilles Steichen during his foreign posting. “Yes, the approach is different, but for those who wish to progress, to broaden their skillset and to train for the needs of tomorrow, this new collective agreement will be an opportunity to embrace. There will of course be safeguards to ensure that everyone has a place in the new system and that no one is left on the sidelines. We are making sure of that.

With regard to working hours, training and even well-being, ALEBA has expressed regret that a lack of understanding of the reality of employees of the financial sector could lead the Central Socialist Trade Union to misunderstand current issues, and to confine itself to backward-looking positions. “For ALEBA, the new Collective Agreement must unquestionably work in favour of sector employees, particularly by helping to enable them, in the medium and long term, to overcome the challenges facing banks in Luxembourg. This is part of our trade union responsibility, and at ALEBA it is not something that we will ignore. It occasionally leads to a different approach, but it in no way questions or challenges the values we uphold, or threatens strict compliance with legislation, specifically on working hours, for example. This is a firm commitment that we make to all employees in the sector, and we will not allow the Collective Agreement to be cheapened.”

For ALEBA, therefore, it remains obvious that ABBL still has to think over several sticking points, and this is also a reason for the extension of the discussions. These alternative proposals must be put forward by the employers’ association as soon as possible, as the June Bonus payment period will soon be upon us.

Finally, ALEBA notes that each trade union organisation will, at a given moment, and perhaps quite soon, be faced with their responsibilities, meaning that they will be free to support, or not, the new Collective Labour Agreement for Bank Employees. “I of course expect that those who currently question the work carried out over the past 18 months will come to their senses or in their own time truly and honestly assume their responsibilities. We must all respect that. But it is not always possible to bite the hand that feeds us, cry wolf and then in the end sign anyway, as was again the case in June 2017. Employees in the sector deserve a much more responsible attitude,” concluded Laurent Mertz, who reiterated that ALEBA is able to sign a Collective Agreement alone, owing to the extent of its sectoral representation.

 

 

Press contacts:

Laurent Mertz, Secretary General (laurent.mertz@kbl-bank.com / +352 621 232 295)

Sandra Carvalho, Head of Communications & Strategy (sandra.carvalho@aleba.lu / +352 671 223 228)