Trade union

Aleba opposes paying for tests every day

ALEBA says it is ready to listen to its members who feel harmed by CovidCheck and, if there is indeed harm, to accompany them legally. (Photo: Nader Ghavami/Maison Moderne/archives)

ALEBA says it is ready to listen to its members who feel harmed by CovidCheck and, if there is indeed harm, to accompany them legally. (Photo: Nader Ghavami/Maison Moderne/archives)

Aleba's president Roberto Mendolia put forward the trade union's stance on CovidCheck at the workplace, saying that employees who feel they have been wronged by the regime should have the possibility to appeal.

On 20 January Aleba (Association luxembourgeoise des employés de banque et assurance) took issue with the mandatory CovidCheck regime at work, making its position clear in a press release. For the trade union the rules go against some fundamental rights, while it also promised to defend its members in case of wrongdoing linked to CovidCheck's introduction in companies. Mendolia spoke to Delano's sister publication Paperjam, about the union's position.

Why take this position now, more than a month after the official announcement of the mandatory introduction of CovidCheck and a little less than a week after its implementation?

Roberto Mendolia: The law had to be analysed. We were careful not to give too quick an opinion. So we commissioned a legal analysis from a firm at the beginning of December. But the study was so extensive that the six lawyers worked on it for over a month. We asked for a neutral legal opinion. According to this opinion, it would appear that CovidCheck violates several rights. On the basis of this opinion, we were obliged to take a stance as a trade union. To let our members know that in case of wrongdoing, they have the possibility to appeal.

Fundamental rights can be violated during a situation of crisis, but asking to pay for tests every day does not seem proportionate. Especially since the workplace does not seem to represent a cluster. Why not simply take political decisions like compulsory vaccination: then it is no longer the employer and the employee who are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

So any member who feels aggrieved by the CovidCheck regime at work can turn to ALEBA?

Yes, but you have to prove that you have been discriminated. We ask that you keep any test fees or other evidence to provide to our lawyers who will then say whether they think you can go to court or not. They will analyse the situation and assess the chances and, in some cases, may refer you to an external lawyer.

(The union has three in-house lawyers and works regularly with Mbonyumutwa Avocats, the same firm that gave its opinion on CovidCheck plus a dozen specialist lawyers for specific cases. The first step, analysing whether or not an employee can take action, is free. If they go to court within the framework of CovidCheck, a contribution is requested from new members, which varies according to each case.)

Have you received many complaints since the introduction of CovidCheck in companies?

I have received about ten complaints as a delegate in my own company alone. I couldn't do anything but tell them to wait for the legal opinion.

By taking this position on CovidCheck, you are also reminding us of Aleba’s stance on favouring teleworking?

We have been saying it since the beginning of the crisis, we have always been in favour of remote working.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.