Helsinki (27.03.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) A strike in the financial services sector was avoided at the eleventh hour. The parties reached an agreement on the new collective agreement on the evening before the first three days work stoppage in banks was due to begin.

The negotiations for a new collective agreement in the financial services sector have been going on since October last year. The existing collective agreement had ended back in November.

The crux of the dispute has been weekend work. Both parties are now ready to open up more possibilities for banks to provide service also at the weekends.

Helsinki (23.03.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) The ongoing round of collective bargaining has been going on now for nearly eight months.The  employers' joint coordination throughout the negotiations has been very firm, say trade union leaders.

Finland had a tradition of broad national labour market pacts until the employers' umbrella organisation Confederation of Finnish Industries EK announced that it was no longer willing to be a part of any nationally coordinated labour market pact.

Therefore, collective bargaining is now taking place at union level. Which means the broader scopes are not being set at a national level as before.

PRO (15.03.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Negotiations surrounding a new collective agreement for the financial services sector remain deadlocked. Trade Union Pro has issued new strike warnings for March and April in a bid to speed up the stalled negotiations.

The main reason for the deadlock is the employers' uncompromising demand for unilateral control over working hours, including weekends. The pay rise question has not yet been resolved either.

Antti Hakala, Director of the Finance Sector in Trade Union Pro says that the Union is ready to make a deal that would mean weekend work could be agreed locally at individual workplaces according to the needs of both the company and employees. The employers do not accept this and want to have sole power when it comes to deciding on weekend work.

JHL (15.03.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Everyone has the right to a fair and decent livelihood. This is the clear message of the new JHL campaign. In March the Union kicked off a campaign with the slogan On the side of fairness.

One part of the campaign features short ten second videos showing people in their daily work. “We want that appreciation of work is also seen and reflected in the wallet and wellbeing in working life. On the side of fairness.”

The campaign highlights the important work that members of JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors are doing every day.

Helsinki (06.03.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Most unemployment funds have traditionally been an integral part of trade unions in Finland. The first union to start an unemployment fund was the Book Printers' Union in 1895. Since the decree of 1917 the Union unemployment funds have been receiving financial support from the state.

Those who are members of the unemployment funds are paying a moderate annual fee to their fund. In turn they get a higher earnings-related benefit than those who are not members of the unemployment funds.

Now Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health says it is not right that only those who are members of unemployment funds should be entitled to earnings-related benefit. Those who do not belong to the unemployment funds only receive the lower basic unemployment allowance.

Minister Mattila has now appointed a rapporteur to draft a report on how to create a system of general unemployment security with earnings-related benefits for everyone.

Helsinki (23.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Collective bargaining in the retail and facilities service sector has yielded no results so far. The main stumbling block is the pay rise question.

With negotiations deadlocked the Service Union United PAM has now initiated an overtime ban and a ban on accumulating a positive flextime balance in the retail sector. There are some 250,000 employees in this sector.

On Thursday 22 February PAM the Executive Committee decided to go back to the bargaining table and resume negotiations, set to begin again on Monday 26 February.

JHL (20.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) JHL has threatened industrial action in three sectors where the collective bargaining process is deadlocked.

There are several unions behind these possible industrial actions, The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL is not acting alone.

One of these warnings would lead to a one day strike at the University of Helsinki on 28 February.

According to the unions the negotiations are deadlocked because the Finnish universities are being intransigent in their wish to dictate salaries and are unwilling to negotiate on terms of work to develop working life.

Helsinki (15.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) Collective agreements for the public sector are beginning to take shape. The solution to breaking the deadlock in negotiations was to come up with a novel one-off payment for employees to compensate for the lost holiday bonus.

The main issue that stalled all municipal and state sector negotiations was the unions demand for compensation for the 30 per cent holiday bonus cut, which was put in place for three years at the insistence of the Finnish Government.

The new one-off, lump sum payment was introduced first in the main municipal agreement, covering some 421,000 employees. In January 2019 the municipal employees will receive  a payment of 9.2 per cent of their monthly salary.

On average this will amount to 260 euro per person.

Helsinki (08.02.2018 - Heikki Jokinen) A large number of public sector collective agreements expired at the end of January. Negotiations are now ongoing and some forms of industrial action are already taking place.

JHL, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors this week introduced a ban on overtime and shift swap in the energy sector, municipalities, rail traffic, private social services and private education and vocational education and training.

Tehy, the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland announced in conjunction with the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses, SuPer, similar action in municipal health care. This covers around 130,000 health care employees.

Helsinki (07.02.2018 – Heikki Jokinen) The number of redundancies in the private sector was at a record low in the year 2017.  A total of 3,276 employees lost their job last year, compared to 10,874 in 2016.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK has been keeping track of the number of redundancies since 2007 and the figures for the year 2017 are lower than ever.

The figures reflect the upswing in the Finnish economy, says Hannu Jouhki, Director of SAK Growth and Advocacy department.