Helsinki (27.06.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Lawyer Anu Sajavaara will take up her position as the new National Conciliator on 6 August. The Finnish Government appointed her on 22 June.

The task of the National Conciliator is to assist the negotiating partners in the conciliation of labour disputes if a collective agreement cannot be reached without outside help. The arbitration system is based on the Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes.

Sajavaara is working as the Negotiations Director for labour market issues at Palta, the Service Sector Employers. She has had a many-sided career in public administration, the European Union, Jyväskylä University and various employers' associations.

Helsinki (21.06.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Sture Fjäder will resign his position as President of Akava this autumn, much earlier than expected. His term was due to end in Spring 2024. Fjäder's announcement comes amid reports by Finnish media that there was a secret written and signed deal requiring Fjäder to step down this autumn. This deal was not disclosed at the time.

Fjäder has been leading Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, since 2011. He was re-elected President on 25 August 2020. He received 578 votes against 292 votes for Maria Teikari, the Service Director at the Social Science Professionals YKA, one of the Akava member unions.

Only a short time after that, on 9 September 2020 Fjäder signed a deal saying that he would vacate the presidency in Autumn 2022. The other three signatories to this arrangement were the leaders of three major Akava Unions.

Helsinki (10.06.2022 – Heikki Jokinen) The long quest for a collective agreement in the municipal sector finally resulted in a pay deal. But one that doesn’t include all municipal employees.

The struggle to reach a new collective agreement for 245,000 municipal employees proved to be especially difficult this year. Tehy and Super, the unions representing nurses, are demanding a substantial pay rise due to the major shortage of nurses in social and health care.

For similar reasons and to keep municipal sector jobs attractive, other unions in the municipal sector also demanded pay rises that go above the level unions in the private sector have reached so far.

Helsinki (12.05.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Nurses' unions rejected the conciliation committee proposal for a pay deal for the municipal sector. Other unions and employers in the sector accepted it.

The two nurses' unions Tehy - The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland and Super - the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses have demanded a five year pay programme. This would raise nurses' salaries annually by 3.6 per cent over the next 5 years on top of the standard pay increase.

Other unions in the municipal sector also demanded a pay rise that goes over the general pay rise in the private sector. The reasons and motivation for all unions are similar: without a real increase of income in the municipal sector the already existing shortage of labour will only get worse.

Helsinki (03.05.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) More than 80,000 local government employees strike in ten major Finnish cities 3 - 9 May. In Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa, Jyväskylä, Turku, Rovaniemi, Kuopio, Oulu and Tampere, schools, daycare centres, museums, public libraries and many other public services shut down for several days.

The strike began after negotiations for a new collective agreement for 425,000 municipal employees failed. Several other, smaller collective agreements for the municipal sector are still to be hammered out, too.

The unions are worried about the competitiveness of the public sector. Right now, in many municipal workplaces it is extremely difficult to recruit new people. The salaries are not as high as in the private sector and the workload is often very heavy.

Helsinki (29.04.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) The 112 day long strike at paper giant UPM paper and pulp mills has finally ended. Paper began to roll out of the mills again this week.

The parties signed five separate collective agreements for various UPM business sectors. All of these are valid from 22.4.2022 until 21.4.2026. The pay rise follows the general line, the Paper Workers’ Union say, without indicating the exact figures.

Thus far, the collective agreements made in Finland have brought about a 1.9 - 2.0 cent pay rise for this year. The pay rise at UPM has now been agreed for two years and the remaining two years of the agreement will be negotiated later.

Helsinki (13.04.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) When a union declares a strike, it pays strike pay to its members. Without this benefit and a big enough industrial action fund the union is toothless in its efforts to improve the terms of work.

The amount of strike pay varies, as every union decides this by themselves. But, this year we have seen a clear rise in the level of strike pay. This indicates that the unions are very serious about reaching their goals and are prepared to pay for it.

According to Finnish legislation, 16 euro per day of the strike pay is tax-free. For the rest, there is a flat tax rate of 45 per cent. However, in the final taxation assessment this will be balanced out to be in line with the percentage according to the full-year earned income.

Helsinki (08.04.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Short strikes are on the increase in the public municipal services sector. Negotiations to reach collective agreements for the municipal sector have failed as of yet. The agreements cover some 425,000 local government employees.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors had already earlier instituted overtime and shift swap bans. At the beginning of April, it declared a two-day municipal service strike in six selected cities like Tampere and Oulu.

Should negotiations not yield a result, JHL, JUKO and Jyty unions will start on 19 April a seven-day strike in the Helsinki metropolitan area, covering Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen.

Helsinki (29.03.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) A major strike of 25,000 nurses is beginning on 1 April, unless a last-minute agreement can be reached.

Tehy - The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland and Super - the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses, are concerned about the urgent need to do something about the shortage of social and health care professionals.

To this end, the unions have proposed there should be an extra 3.6 per cent increase over the next 5 years on top of the standard pay increase. This would be separate from the branch collective agreements and financed directly by the state, the unions say.

Helsinki (25.03.2022 - Heikki Jokinen) Collective bargaining at UPM paper mills have not yet yielded any results. The forestry giant UPM still stubbornly demands that an extra 70 - 100 annual working hours be done by its employees without any additional pay.
The UPM strike, which began on 1 January, will continue till at least 16 April, if there is not an agreement before then.
The situation is extremely expensive for UPM. According to analysts, the company is suffering a loss in profits of 2 - 3 million euro a day. But as their goal is ideological, the cost seems not to mean anything.