Helsinki (18.09.2017 - Heikki Jokinen). A new round of collective bargaining has begun. Several major collective agreements are due for renewal this Autumn. The question concerning the level of pay rise is still open.

The first one to negotiate is the Paper Workers' Union. Their collective agreement expires at the end of September. The Union announced on 12 September that all the original demands of both sides are all still on the negotiation table.

The Union want to see changes in rules with respect to working hours, protection against dismissal and transition assistance. The employers are interested in increasing flexibility regarding working hours and the use of hired labour.

As the pay rise is always the last thing to be negotiated, no figures have been published so far as to what this might be.

The next major field to negotiate will be the technology industry. Their collective agreements are due to end at the end of October. The Finnish Industrial Union has began negotiations, but no detailed information on the progress of these talks has come to light so far.

Riku Aalto, Chairperson of the Finnish Industrial Union said on 15 September that there has been some progress in text issues but the level of pay rise has not yet been discussed at all.

Trade Union Pro has started negotiations concerning their own agreements in the technology sector on 11 September. Pro represents those in expert, supervisor or clerical positions within the sector.

The Industrial Union TEAM now has ongoing collective bargaining in their own fields, like the graphical and chemical industry.

Industry sets the level

The negotiations of the export industries are important for all unions, as they are expected to set a general ceiling for pay rises. This might be difficult to exceed in other branches, though there is no formal rule or agreement, in this regard, as such.

On the other hand, public service unions including the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL have made it clear that there is a need for a significant pay rise. On their list of demands is the wish to overturn the unfair cut in the public sector holiday bonus, agreed last year as a part of the national labour pact.

Rauno Vesivalo, Chairperson of the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland Tehy also says in the Tehy Magazine that public sector holiday bonus cuts must be cancelled. Tehy is looking for significant pay rises, too.

Many unions demand that the 24 extra working hours that were added to annual working time as a part of the national labour pact must be abolished. Toni Laiho, Negotiation Chief of the Industrial Union TEAM makes this clear in a TEAM web page interview.

The level of pay rise is open. Ilkka Kaukoranta, the Chief Economist of the Finnish Trade Union Confederation SAK calculates that to keep the purchase power on the existing level pay rise should be 2.1 per cent in case there is no cut in the wage and salary earners taxation.

If the Government compensates fully for the wage and salary earners' cost rise connected with the national labour pact, a pay rise of 1.3 per cent would be enough to keep the purchasing power at existing levels, Kaukoranta says.

Read more:

Unions demand real rise in pay in autumn round of collective bargaining (15.06.2017)

Unions demand clear pay rise for the municipal sector (16.08.2017)