Jul. 13, 2020 The main municipal unions in the Nordic region - Fagforbundet (Norway), Kommunal (Sweden), JHL (Finland) and FOA (Denmark) - have called on government and municipal employers to work together with unions to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They argue that local and regional authorities need the finance to maintain jobs as well as the pay and condition of the municipal workforce and that these will be crucial to the economic recovery. The unions stress above all that austerity cannot be the answer and that the contribution of municipal workers should be recognised with funding for wage settlements and the services they provide.
Jun. 05, 2020 The new collective agreement covering 420000 local government workers, including health care was finally agreed at the end of May and runs from 1.4.2020 to 28.2.2022. There will be a pay rise of 1.22% or at least 26 Euro on 1 August this year, followed by a further 1% on 1 April 2021. There is also a sum of 0.8% to be agreed at local level, valid from 1 April 2021. The annual 24 unpaid extra working hours agreed as part of a "competitiveness" pact with the then government in 2016 will end on 30 August this year. From September 2021 there will be a separate agreement covering healthcare workers as called for by the TEHY and Super trade unions. Unions were disappointed that the employers didn't agree to a COVID-19 bonus but this has not been completely ruled out.
Apr. 24, 2020 A new collective agreement covering the 75000 workers in the state sector has been agreed, running 23 months from 1 April 2020 to 28 February 2022. The pay rise over the period will be 3.07% in line with other pay increases in the current bargaining round. Negative elements introduced during the so-called competitiveness pact with the then right-wing government in 2016 have been removed. From now on the annual holiday bonus will be paid in full (it was cut by 30% in each of the last three years) and the 24 hours of extra unpaid work each year will also end although there is a provision for extra hours to be worked but at normal pay. Meanwhile, there are major disagreements, including on the overall pay increase, in the negotiations in local government that cover 310000 workers.
Mar. 05, 2020 With many collective agreements now finalised in the private sector with a going rate of 3.3% over 25 months, attention is shifting to the public sector where unions are looking for higher pay deals for the lower paid and for health and care workers. TEHY and Super, the main unions representing health and social service workers are aiming for an additional 1.8% and a 10-year programme of increases above the average for the technology sector, which is seen as a key benchmark. The unions recognise that additional government funding will be needed to cover the pay increases. They also want a separate agreement to cover the 170000 health and social care workers that are currently part of the general municipal agreement.
Jan. 08, 2020 Just over 90000 workers in the technology sector are set to see wages increase by 3.3% over the next two years. This is an important deal which sets the pace for other sectors in the upcoming round of collective bargaining. The agreement also sees the end of the 24 hours of extra unpaid work a year that unions reluctantly agreed to in 2016 in the competitiveness pact pushed by the then conservative government. The 3.3% will be paid in three stages, 1.3% this year and 1.4% next year with potential discretion given to shop stewards for how these are implemented at local level. The remaining 0.6% in February 2021 is more at the discretion of employers but subject to guidelines agreed with the unions.
Dec. 18, 2019 Strike action organised by the JHL public services union was instrumental in maintaining the collective agreement covering around 1000 employees of the cleaning and catering company Arkea, owned by the City of Turku. The company had switched to another employers' organisation so that it could sign up to a different and inferior collective agreement. This would have meant employees suffering cuts in pay of 15%-30%. After strike action by the 1000 employees at Arkea, a second strike also involving local transport workers was organised. With the threat of a third strike the company agreed to reinstate the original collective agreement.
Oct. 24, 2019 The JHL public services union says that it will aim to negotiate pay increases for lower paid workers that are higher than those in industry as a step towards reducing the pay gap between the sectors. It says this is essential to tackle low pay in sectors dominated by women. It also wants the 24 hours of extra unpaid work introduced in the Competitiveness Pact to be paid or cut while measures on carers' and paternity leave will also feature in the next bargaining round. The union carried out a survey of 8000 members to help it plan its priorities and gauge support for industrial action.
May. 28, 2019 In 2016 unions reluctantly negotiated a competitiveness pact that involved an additional 24 hours' work a year with no extra pay, a 30% cut in holiday pay for public sector workers and a transfer of pension contributions from employers to employees. In anticipation of the next bargaining round some unions have already confirmed that they want the additional hours to be cut. Unions are particularly unhappy that while workers saw an increase in working time and an effective cut in take-home pay to deliver the pact, the employers failed to deliver on their side of the bargaining with more investment.
Nov. 23, 2018 Industrial action across the public and private sectors forced the government to revise its proposal to make it easier to dismiss workers in small companies. Unions were angry not just about the change but also about the fact that the government hadn't consulted unions and employers over the proposal. Following the union action there were tripartite discussions and the draft law now has no minimum threshold for dismissal rights. While most unions accept the specific change, the TEHY health union is still concerned about the overall balance of the bill and the impact on sectors dominated by women.
Nov. 02, 2018 Public and private sector trade unions have suspended their industrial action in protest at planned changes to dismissal legislation following a commitment from the government to negotiate. The proposed changes would have made it easier to sack workers in small firms. Unions were objecting to the discriminatory provisions and to the failure to negotiate. The unions have only suspended the action and may restart it if the government doesn't undertake proper tripartite negotiations.
Oct. 25, 2018 The JHL public services union stepped up its industrial action against proposed changes in dismissal rights with a 48-hour strike by around 10000 members who work in cleaning, property maintenance and food service sectors and sports and culture services. The strike is part of widespread trade union industrial action against plans to reduce dismissal protection for workers in small companies. The unions argue that not only is the change unfair, creating two-tier labour law but also threatens to impact women workers more than men. Trade unions are also angry that the government is trying to change employment legislation without any negotiation or consultation with the union movement.
Oct. 10, 2018 Unions across the public and private sectors have been taking various forms of industrial action including strikes on 3 October and overtime bans in protest at government plans to make it easier to dismiss workers in businesses employing 10 or fewer people. The three union confederations have rejected the proposals which they say are unfair and will do nothing to boost employment. They are also angry at the government's action, failing to undertake any consultation or negotiation with the trade union movement.
Sep. 14, 2018 The JHL public services union has warned that it will start a campaign of industrial action if the government goes ahead with plans to change the law on dismissal. The union leadership agreed that it would consider action short of a strike (such as an overtime ban) and even targeted strike action. The government is working on proposals that would make it easier to dismiss workers in companies with fewer than 20 employees which would cover 36% of all employees. JHL says that Finnish law is not restrictive by international standards and the government is pushing for the change even though there is no evidence that such a measure would have a positive effect on employment.
Aug. 17, 2018 A new national conciliator has been appointed and has already created concern among trade unions following a TV interview. Vuokko Piekkala comes from the church employers' organisation and told the YLE channel that the first agreement reached in the upcoming bargaining round will, under her guidance, set a pay rise ceiling for the rest of the agreements. Public services unions TEHY and JHL, along with the SAK confederation, immediately expressed their concerns about Piekkala taking a position in line with the employers rather than showing strict impartiality.
Aug. 02, 2018 The JHL public service union that represents 22000 workers in childcare has called for major changes to the draft law on early years education and care. The union argues that the proposals wrongly target changes in qualifications and employment structure in the sector rather than dealing with the fundamental issues of numbers of staff and staff:children ratios. The union warns that the suggested and unnecessary educational requirements will cause major employment problems in the sector.