Helsinki (02.10.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The new collective agreement for employees and supervisors within tourism, restaurant and leisure services was born under very special circumstances. The agreement was approved on 1 October and covers some 75 000 employees.

The coronavirus pandemic has left the hospitality sector in a dire economic situation. The number of customers has fallen off dramatically and there has been and will continue to be various restrictions on opening hours and seating arrangements in restaurants.

Collective bargaining for this branch should have taken place in the Spring, but due to the very uncertain future the agreement was extended until the end of September. Now, the Service Union United PAM has reached a deal with the employers' association Mara.

The structure of the agreement is exceptional within the Finnish labour market. It allows for pay revisions but the nature of which and how this is to happen remains open. This will be negotiated in January and September 2021. In the event there is no deal, the whole agreement will expire at the end of February 2021.

"Now the future of the entire industry is at stake. PAM carries its responsibility and wants employees to continue working in the industry also in the future. Despite the difficult starting points and not yet knowing the level of wage increases, the collective bargaining solution reached was acceptable", says PAM President Annika Rönni-Sällinen on the PAM press release.

However, there were several improvements in the agreement, she says. The daily rest period between shifts will be extended by one hour to 11 hours and the number of consecutive night shifts will be limited to five instead of seven as before.

Working time will be shortened by longer annual leave - this replaces the annual 24 extra unpaid working hours forced into the collective agreements by PM Juha Sipilä’s right-wing Government in 2016. There are also improvements concerning shop stewards and occupational safety and health representatives.

Drafting the agreement was not easy, but solutions were arrived at thanks to the spirit of good cooperation with the employers’ federation, Rönni-Sällinen says.

"The development of working conditions could be achieved despite the effects of the coronavirus. We have not thrown in the towel yet, instead we believe in a brighter future", she stresses.

Read more:

PAM close deals on facilities services and retail trade (17.02.2020)

Annika Rönni-Sällinen is the new President of the Service Union United PAM (7.6.2019)