Unofficial minutes of the General Assembly in Luxembourg of 9 July 2019

The Local Staff Committee (LSC) Luxembourg has not yet made public the minutes of the General Assembly that took place on 9 July 2019. We would like to provide you therefore with our unofficial minutes about this Assembly and with information that you may not read from the official minutes. But first let us go back to how the story began…

As you may know, we have not only kept you informed but even explicitly asked you to support the joint movement of 6 trade unions including Generation 2004 to propose fairer and more democratic electoral rules for the LSC. At this point, we would like to thank you all who followed our call in any way for your valuable support.

Before finally coming to the ‘minutes’ of the Assembly, you may find interesting that the major argument of the Board of the LSC Luxembourg for delaying the organization of the General Assembly for several weeks was that the proposal, which has been submitted in English, had to be translated to French. This translation however never arrived and all of a sudden, the LSC Luxembourg decided that it is not needed at all, since it did not play a role anymore and the Assembly was still organized without providing a French version of the proposal. Requiring a French translation appears therefore only to have served for delaying the date of the Assembly until the summer holiday period.

The Assembly began with one and a half hours delay because the Board of the LSC did not expect 155 colleagues (out of the around 4000 working in Luxembourg) to join the Assembly. Heaven forbid if ever a substantial part of our colleagues dare to come to a General Assembly – we might block the building for days. They also did their utmost to keep the colleagues from staying and voting. The door of the meeting room suitable for 60(!) persons was locked and the Board of the LSC would not open it and start the registry of participants until exactly 12:00 when the meeting was already due to start. Result: 10 colleagues registered but were not able to stay until the Assembly could finally start.

The Bureau of the LSC then announced that it has taken all the necessary steps to ensure the smooth running of the Assembly by also alerting the security service. You may ask yourself: is Commission staff regarded by (some of) its elected representatives as potential troublemakers?

Let us just shortly mention that the LSC did not provide a timeline for the presentation in advance and on spot told to our member to limit the presentation of the proposal to 5 minutes, which immediately triggered comments in the audience that 5 minutes may not be sufficient to explain the proposed rules. We rather refrain from commenting on the cutting of the microphone and yawning by the president of the Assembly during the presentation. Though, he did not dare neither to make the littlest noise nor to cut the microphone when the Leader of his own organization Union Syndicale Luxembourg (USL) held his monologue. His basic argument was that only the current electoral system would be able to ensure that staff in Luxembourg could be compensated for higher cost of living in Luxembourg as compared to Brussels. Luxembourg staff could already read the same argumentation from mailings using the logo of the LSC to all staff ahead of the Assembly. Neither those mails nor the presentation gave any reasonable explanation for this statement. What does this have to do with the electoral system? Nothing! It only has to do with the expectation of USL to keep the majority of the seats in the LSC by telling to staff that they would be the only ones willing to help them and who will achieve a correction coefficient for Luxembourg. At the same time, they keep silent about the fact that a correction coefficient is only achievable via opening the Staff Regulations, which did not happen during the current mandate of the LSC, and we may all hope that it will not happen before the end of the next mandate as so far all openings ended up in a disaster.

And now to the voting: 84 colleagues voted for a change of the electoral system, which makes out a clear majority of the Assembly participants, though not the required qualified majority by two thirds out of the 145 votes in total. 55 colleagues voted against and 6 were undecided.

This result convinced us that the majority of the colleagues wants a change but the current procedure is not truly democratic as it allows a minority of 55 people to block any change. Such an important question should not be decided by a small portion of staff that can make it to a tiny room possibly at the other edge of the city during summer holidays but by all staff in a referendum. A referendum will also warrant a secret voting, which we believe should be conducted for such an important decision.

Furthermore, the work on the joint proposal proved that the six different trade unions are able to cooperate in a fruitful way and follow a common goal in the interest of staff to have a better representation of all staff in Luxembourg. We think that it may be worth considering further cooperation on specific issues concerning Luxembourg or even joining our forces by setting up a common programme on local policies for the next term of the LSC Luxembourg. On this point, we would appreciate knowing the opinion of staff. Please tell us what you think!

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