Politically invisible

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Although they are very present on the roads and in companies, cross-border workers remain invisible in the Luxembourg political arena. While discrimination is on the increase, the question of their representation arises.

There were less than 7,000 cross-border workers in 1980, 79,300 in 2000 and over 200,000 today. Initially welcomed with open arms to keep a flourishing economy going, cross-border workers have been feeling the pinch in recent years. They are said to be the cause of congested rush hour traffic, to not make enough effort to learn Luxembourgish, to spend their income in their country of residence and, in short, to be profiteers.

These clichés, assiduously repeated in the comments of news websites, sometimes even transpire in political discourse. For example, the former Minister of the Economy, Etienne Schneider (LSAP), once agreed with the arguments of his colleagues François Bausch and Carole Dieschbourg (déi gréng), who were opposed to the installation of the Fage and Knauf factories, and used discourse that was contemptuous of cross-border workers: "Let me give you an example of a company that would create 100 jobs, 95 of which would be for frontier workers who are paid the minimum social wage. What does this company and its employees still represent in terms of tax revenue?" He went back on these remarks a little later.

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