Helsinki (12.11.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The Industrial Union says that it has decided to stop negotiations with regard to collective bargaining in the chemical sector.

The reason for this is that the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland demanded - as a part of the new collective agreement - to end the practise whereby the employer facilitates the paying of union dues when paying salaries. This practise has been in widespread use in Finland since the late 1960s.

The Union calls employers action flagrant and says it will not return to the negotiation table before the demand is withdrawn.

"The proposal to end the employers' collection of union dues in stages indicates the employers long time goal to scrap the labour market system based on negotiation and agreements", says Toni Laiho, Director of the Chemical Sector of the Industrial Union.

Laiho stresses that the Union is willing and ready to develop, and for the future also, the collective agreements and a genuine dialogue with employers, in order to benefit both parties.

"However, the functioning collective bargaining system requires an equal bargaining position on both sides of the negotiation table. This means a high organising level for both employers and employees and practices supporting it."

The Union says it has noticed similar proposals in other sectors, too. This suggests that the employers have a goal to dismantle the culture of agreement and instead pick a fight with organised labour.

The employers' association the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland were unwilling to offer any comments on the situation to the media.

The Industrial Union collective agreements in the chemical sector cover 17,000 employees and will expire at the end of November.