Helsinki (10.01.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The PM Sipilä right-wing Government drastic actions in the labour market some years ago casts a long and dark shadow today over this year’s collective bargaining round.

In 2016, the Government forced almost all trade unions to accept 24 unpaid annual extra working hours in their collective agreements. The alternative would have been harsh punishments in labour legislation cutting the rights and benefits of wage and salary earners.

At the same time unions were forced to accept a transfer of some labour social costs from companies to employees. According to calculations by the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK this shift will benefit employers in 2017 - 2020 to the tune of 6.577 billion euro.

Helsinki (06.01.2020 – Heikki Jokinen) After several months of negotiations the new collective agreement for the technology industry was accepted on Saturday 4 January. It will bring a 3.3 per cent pay increase and the agreement is for 25 months.

The agreement covers some 93,000 employees and is considered important in paving the way for other collective agreements. Negotiations in almost all other sectors have been halted as the parties involved have been waiting to see what the pay rise in the export industry would be.

Riku Aalto, President of the Industrial Union views the disappearance of the 24 unpaid annual extra working hours as being the most important element in the new agreement. This punitive measure was agreed in 2016 under heavy pressure from the right-wing Government of PM Sipilä.

Helsinki (18.12.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The long struggle concerning terms of work in the City of Turku owned food and janitorial services company Arkea were finally resolved at the beginning of December.

The company decided to return to their earlier collective agreement after a failed attempt to move one thousand employees to other agreements with major cuts in salaries and holidays.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors hailed this as a victory. "The result is a clear victory for the Union. This was exactly the agreement we had put forward and offered in the first round of negotiations",says Maaret Laakso, Varsinais-Suomi Regional Chief of JHL to the Union magazine Motiivi.

IPS-Journal (Helsinki 10.12.2019) On Tuesday, 10 December 2019, Sanna Marin succeeded Antti Rinne to become Finland’s youngest Prime Minister.

What began as a dispute of the collective agreement of 700 parcel sorting offices workers at the state-owned postal service company Posti ended with the resignation of Antti Rinne, the Finnish Prime Minister, and his government. What happened?

The roots of the events go back to June 2017. The Centre Party Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and his right-wing government passed new legislation, opening the distribution of mail to private competition.

Helsinki (04.12.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) The Industrial Union has announced a strike from 9 to 11 December. It will cover 35,000 employees from the technology, chemical, wood product and special branches sectors.

Negotiations for a new collective agreement for technology industry faltered on the question of pay rises. Other issues in the agreement are more or less agreed upon.

Even the hard question of the 24 unpaid annual extra working hours, forced on employees by the right-wing Government of PM Sipilä in 2016, is now resolved. These hours will disappear in the technology sector agreement.

The National Conciliator made a proposal in respect of a pay rise, 1.6 per cent as part of a two years agreement.

Helsinki (29.11.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) A new collective agreement for postal workers ends the escalating strike wave.

The employer agreed to move 700 workers back to their previous collective agreement which is negotiated by the Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU and employers association Palta. And they quickly reached a new collective agreement.

The core issue at the root of the dead-locked negotiations was the fate of 700 workers employed at postal service company Posti’s parcel sorting offices.

Helsinki (20.11.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) There is no solution yet in the postal services strike.

The National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala put forward, on 18 November, a proposal for an agreement. Surprisingly, it completely failed to address the core issue of the conflict, the fate of the 700 state owned postal service company Posti employees which the employer unilaterally transferred to another company and another collective agreement.

"There was not a word about these employees in the National Conciliator’s proposal", says Heidi Nieminen, President of the Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU.

Helsinki (19.11.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Many unions have announced plans to take industrial action in support of the collective bargaining process in the ongoing postal strike. The Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU strike in the state owned postal service company Posti began on Monday 11 November.

The Service Union United PAM will stop handling of parcels and letters between 25 November and 8 December in some 750 Post-in-Shop services. These are located among others in grocery stores, cafes and service stations.

"PAM does not accept employer attempts to weaken the terms of employment for those working at Posti. We see it as vitally important that terms of employment and business are developed jointly", says PAM President Annika Rönni-Sällinen.

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.

Helsinki (30.10.2019 - Heikki Jokinen) Several important collective agreements in the technology industry are nearing their expiry date at the end of October. Altogether these agreements cover 296,000 employees. In spite of the tight schedule no results are anywhere near in sight during this current round of collective bargaining.

As predicted, the most difficult question is the fate of the 24 unpaid annual extra working hours, forced on employees by the right-wing Government of PM Sipilä in 2016. The unions say this is something that must come to an end, while the employers are equally adamant that it should continue .

What makes the situation even more difficult is that the unpaid extra hours have been turned into practise in very different ways. In some cases these do not exist, or are used for well-being activities like voluntary motion. However, in many working places extra hours are firmly fixed in shift rosters.