POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Guild appeals for all trades to restart in mid-May



Paperjam.lu

unsplash-logoTommy Baraby 

The Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts (Chambre des métiers) stated this week that in recent days, “the number of people infected has not increased massively,” so Luxembourg’s “deconfinement should be widened in ‘phase 2’ starting on 11 May” to include all the activities of artisans.

The chamber said it had worked with the Multi-Sector Occupational Health Service (Service de santé au travail multisectoriel), a private sector monitoring outfit, to develop a set of practical covid-19 prevention checklists and recommendations for each field of tradesmen.

In its restart roadmap, the chamber issued 36 recommendations to the government. In the first tranche, which the guild would like to see executed this month, artisans would receive financial aid to cover the cost of health and safety kit. The group called for state-backed emergency loans to be partially converted into subsidies that would indemnify craftsmen for lost income while they were closed under government orders.

The Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts proposed that commercial lease payments be reduced by 50% during the months of April and May 2020, that employers’ social insurance contributions be canceled during the months of April, May and June 2020, and that the short-time working scheme and emergency family leave programmes be extended, among other actions.

In a second phase, to take place between June and December 2020, the chamber (which also represents the construction industry, which went back to work on 20 April) called for energy efficiency subsidies to be boosted, for the planning permission process to be sped up, and for a “reorganisation” of collective summer and winter holidays in the construction sector.

Among the other requested measures, the trade group wanted a series of steps to shore up their members’ liquidity, for apprentices’ salaries to be covered by the government, for the economy ministry to create a task force for self-employed people, and for the reform of retailer opening hours to be accelerated.

The guild published its roadmap (“Plan global de relance des activités dans l’Artisanat”) on 30 April.