Helsinki (25.11.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The steadfast action against an employers’ bogus "union" for those employed distributing unaddressed mail and free-sheet newspapers bears fruit.
The Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU has succeeded in getting employers in the branch to pay hundreds of thousands euro in compensation for underpaying employees that were under a generally binding collective agreement.
Since 2009, there has been a generally binding collective agreement in the branch and all companies are obliged to follow it. Some employers were unhappy with it and set up their own "trade union" - the so-called yellow union - Suomen Mainosjakajien Etujärjestö SME.
Then they made a "collective agreement" with themselves, offering pay that was below the legally binding level. SME had no office, no staff, no unemployment fund and no shop stewards. It had no activities other than agreeing on terms of work with employers.
PAU began to act immediately when it learned about the employers’ yellow "union" and yellow "collective agreement". Several court decisions have made it clear: this "union" is not a real trade union and the deals done and agreements made by it are illegal.
PAU has won all the court cases regarding underpaid work for people working for unaddressed mail distribution. The distribution companies have been obliged to pay the real salary and compensations for their employees.
This 12 years adventure with their own yellow "union" has now come at major cost for the distribution companies involved. Not only in terms of compensation for dumping pay but also because of the very considerable legal costs. As they lost all of their cases, they must pay PAU expenses, too.
The latest court ruling was in November. The Varsinais-Suomi District Court obliged a distribution company to pay almost 50,000 euro to one of their former employees by way of compensation for unpaid pay according to the legally binding collective agreement. The company must also pay almost 19,000 euro in legal costs.
Some companies have avoided the courts by making a deal with PAU and beginning to pay salaries according to the real collective agreement.
Already in 2015, the Helsinki Court of Appeal ruled that the goal of the yellow union SME to keep the pay level under the generally binding collective agreement is a strange one for a genuine union.