POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

OGBL demands more purchasing power



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The trade union OGBL reiterates its calls to put more money in peoples' pockets.Pictured: OGBL meeting for Labour Day in Dudelange in April 2017.Picture credit: OGBL 

The trade union OGBL has launched a new campaign to increase the purchasing power of low income groups.

16.5% of the population are at risk of poverty in the grand duchy, and the gap continues to widen between low- and middle-income groups and high-income groups--at a time when economic growth is high, the union said.

André Roeltgen, the chair of the OGBL, has called on the government on Tuesday 28 November to use the last year before the election to increase social benefits and transfers for people with the minimum wage and Revis (income support) beneficiaries. He added that the state currently loses €180 million in taxes, because the government refuses to reform the stock options scheme, which only benefits high earners by applying a low tax rate to company stock options.

Two “austerity waves” had decreased the purchasing power of Luxembourg residents, Roeltgen argued. In 2011, where the indexation was not increased, and the solidarity tax was raised, and later the so-called future package which included tax hikes and other transfer cuts.

The independent trade union has several demands, some of which can already be found in the agreement with the state:

  • Family benefits should automatically be adapted to wage increases and the rise in the cost of living
  • The minimum wage for unqualified and qualified workers should be increased by 10%
  • People on minimum wage should be exempted from paying taxes
  • Taxes should automatically be adapted to price evolutions
  • The “high living cost” benefit should be increased
  • Pensioners should benefit from a significant adjustment
  • The Revis should be increased
  • The law on reclassifying careers should be made in the interests of the people concerned
  • It should become a right to combine partial retirement with part-time work
  • A solution must be found for those employees who are on more than 52 weeks of sick leave