Luxembourg Mathematics: 25 = 70

The Election of the new Local Staff Committee of Luxembourg (LSC) took place at the end of November with a turn-out of almost 70%. Generation2004 scored some 18.8% of votes, which translates into 2 seats out of 20. We would like to thank all those who voted for us. Despite the increase in the number of lists that were presented to the elections this time, we are the only list that has maintained our score achieved 3 years ago. As a result, we still send two representatives (full member and deputy) to the Central Staff Committee, and we will keep roughly the same representation in the Joint Committees (e.g. promotion committees).

The full results are:

How come a list that receives around one fourth of the votes obtains more than two thirds of the seats, i.e. a qualified majority in all decisions? We have explained this to you in our newsletter in July (click here): this is the result of a flawed majority system that mixes list votes with preferential votes and counts twice some votes.

One could argue that the rules were the same for everybody and that everybody knew the rules in advance, therefore complaining afterwards shows a lack of fair-play. Actually, Generation 2004 demonstrated opposition to the Luxembourg electoral system (as did also Save Europe and FFPE) before the elections and even made a proposal for change without success. The flaws of the system are this time even more apparent than 3 years ago, as the Local Staff Committee will be run by a “majority” that got 25% of votes but 70% of seats. Already at the first LSC meeting, this 25% “majority” has demonstrated very clearly how they intend to run the staff committee and “cooperate” with others.

Among several issues that have come up during the past few days, a significant one is the treatment of resignations that was demonstrated during the constitutive meeting of the LSC. The elected couple from the Save Europe list decided to resign. Another pair from the same list should have replaced them. Unfortunately, the resigning pair only communicated their intention by e-mail to the chairperson of the plenary meeting. (This used to be the normal procedure, until recently a resignation by email was accepted just fine.) However, this time the chairperson did inform the plenary about the e-mail, did print it out, but then went on to explain that an email was not sufficient. Moreover, he never bothered replying to those concerned and telling them to confirm their resignation with a signed statement on paper and/or an Ares note or appear in person in the constitutive meeting. Thus, no attempt on his part to find a solution as should have been done in a good-spirited cooperative environment!

As a result, one list representing some 13% of the staff couldn’t propose anyone to the LSC bureau or vote on its composition. Even worse, a LSC board composed of an ad interim president, two vice-presidents and one secretary were elected during the constitutive meeting, all of them members of USL. The only candidate proposed by us to sit on the Board, Michael Ashbrook, who received the third highest number of individual votes, was voted down. As the above described composition of the LSC board did not comply with the electoral rules that require a minimum level of pluralism in the LSC board, another member of the Alliance (Solidarite Europeene) presented himself during the second meeting of the LSC as candidate. With this trick, the minimum level of pluralism within the LSC board is fulfilled by a second branch of the same coalition (Alliance). Together, USL and Solidarite Europenne represent one third of the staff working in Luxembourg. Thus, two member organisations of the same coalition, representing only a third of the staff, now entirely control the Local Staff Committee.

You might wonder why we are devoting so much space to this issue: because we believe in democracy and pluralism; because we believe that the Staff Committee should be here for all staff, not just for the “lucky” 25%; and because we defend our values at all times, not just when they happen to work to our advantage.

We now need to get back to work and try to reach out to those who were not sufficiently convinced by our message and felt the need to propose new lists. Let’s see what can be done to strengthen the staff representation in Luxembourg during the next 3 years: Finding common positions that unite the staff, including the newcomers and not just a handful of high-ranking officials hired 20 or more years ago, will be our motto for the 3 coming years.

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