Helsinki (05.10.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The forest industry announced on 1 October that it will no longer participate in collective bargaining. The decision was prepared secretly and left both unions and the nation flabbergasted. The existing seven collective agreements are valid until they expire either at the beginning or during the year 2022. After that, every company or factory must make their own agreements.

This is a situation that is completely new in modern Finland. Unions have existed for more than one hundred years and in January 1940 - in the middle of the Winter War against the Soviet Union - employers accepted unions and the Confederation SAK as partners in collective bargaining.

But now, the Finnish Forest Industries Federation FFIF claims that collective agreements are too rigid and restrictive as individual companies are very different from each other. Therefore they want to speed up agreements at company and factory level. The solution is to close the door to the unions.

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.

Helsinki (01.10.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) A crucial discussion on the role of the National Conciliator has been ongoing for some time in Finland. Now, the think tank Akava Works has published a comparative report on the machinery for conciliating collective bargaining in several countries.

Professor emeritus Niklas Bruun is the author of the report. He has compared conciliating institutions in the Nordic countries, Belgium, Estonia and Germany.

The goal of the report was not to propose or build a new conciliation model in Finland, Niklas Bruun says in the press release. However, during the study he began to think that the Finnish system needed an overhaul.

Helsinki (17.09.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish system for temporary lay-offs turned out to be flexible in comparison to many other European systems during the coronavirus pandemic. But financially it is less generous than many others.

This is according to a comparative report on short-time (reduced hours) work schemes in six European countries, Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The report is drafted by working life consultant Jyrki Raina, the former General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.

When the coronavirus crisis hit Finland, there was no need to establish a new scheme to facilitate short-time work. The existing scheme for temporary lay-offs is based on unemployment benefits from unemployment funds or from Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.