Helsinki (08.04.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Conciliation did not help bring about a local government collective agreement. The existing agreement expired at the end of March, but there has been no major progress in the negotiations so far.

The parties met - telecommuting - on 7 April with the National Conciliator for the third time. This did not break the deadlock and the next meeting will be held after Easter, on 14 April.

The coronavirus pandemic is making the negotiations more difficult. Municipalities say that they have even less money than before, due to the high healthcare costs right now.

On the other hand, the same crisis has highlighted the vital work of health care workers and aroused even more sympathy for their demands for a real pay rise.

Helsinki (06.04.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) A new collective agreement for the state sector came into effect at the beginning of April.

The agreement will be in place 1.4.2020–28.2.2022. The pay rise included in this 23 month agreement will be 3.07 per cent, which follows the general line in this round of negotiations.

The problematic 24 unpaid annual extra working hours - forced through by the right-wing Government in the agreement in 2016 - will disappear from 1 October 2020.

Helsinki (02.04.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Redundancies and temporary lay-offs due to the coronavirus pandemic are rising at an alarming pace.

On 1 April, some 9,000 employees have been made redundant since 16 March and the number of temporary lay-offs was 58,000.

A total of 3,670 companies have called for co-operation negotiations, as the law requires, to negotiate on further temporary lay-offs or redundancies. On 2 April, this threatens the employment of 332,973 people.

These figures have been furnished by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. And they only include companies with 20 or more employees, as smaller companies do not have to report their temporary lay-offs and redundancies to the authorities.

Helsinki (20.03.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The process involving temporarily lay-offs should be provisionally conducted swiftly in private companies, the Finnish labour market organisations are proposing.

The reason for this is clear: due to the coronavirus pandemic a big number of companies are in serious economic turmoil and might face bankruptcy if immediate steps are not taken to reduce their costs.

On 16 March, the Finnish Government declared a state of emergency restricting the movement of people. This and other measures against the spread of coronavirus have caused a sudden and serious liquidity problem in many companies, especially in services.

Published on 18 March, the proposal by the labour market organisations was unanimous. It has the full backing of all three trade union confederations Akava, SAK, STTK and both employers' associations EK and KT.