Luxembourg construction bottlenecks sideline workers
Surging worldwide demand for building materials like wood, glass and concrete has so outstripped supplies that some Luxembourg construction firms have had to delay work and seek partial unemployment assistance for their workers, the government said.
Eleven firms have applied for partial unemployment in June as the bottlenecks in deliveries are forcing companies to put employees on leave, government ministers said in response to a parliamentary question. More than 40 workers were eligible for partial unemployment help in the second half of May, Labour Minister Dan Kersch and other deputies wrote in response to deputies Carole Hartmann and André Bauler.
"It is currently difficult to assess the effects of this shortage, as the situation changes from company to company and from supplier to supplier," the ministers wrote last week.
The causes for shortages across a broad range of building materials including steel, insulation materials, electrical cables, and painting include months of reduced production during the worst of the pandemic followed by a surging demand, especially in the United States and China, now that the virus has abated, the ministers said.
Construction firms can apply for partial unemployment help if they can show evidence of raw material scarcity, for example with a supplier declaring his inability to deliver products. Higher prices cannot be cited as why builders are unable to obtain materials, the ministers said.
"Given the complexity of these phenomenon, it is impossible to forecast exactly how long the shortage of materials will last," the ministers wrote.
That led Deputy Marc Spautz to formally ask Kersch on Monday why the special rules allowing partial unemployment assistance during the building materials shortage only apply through the end of this month.