Helsinki (03.11.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Food couriers are employees, not entrepreneurs, says Finland's Labour Council. It released two statements on the issue in October. Service Union United PAM welcomes the statements.

The Council is an independent special authority under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. It issues opinions on labour legislation, but the statements are not legally binding. Three of the members represent wage and salary earners, three the employers and three are independent experts.

The Regional State Administrative Agency requested opinions from the Labour Council regarding the application of the Working Hours Act to food couriers of two companies. The key issue was whether a food courier is to be considered an employee or an entrepreneur.

Helsinki (14.10.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Union of Insurance Employees in Finland VvL and Trade Union pro are set to merge from the beginning of 2021. The VvL Council agreed to the amalgamation during a meeting in October. The Board of Pro has already approved the decision and it will be endorsed at the Pro representative body meeting in November.

The field of work of VvL is insurance, finance and the investment sector. Trade Union Pro organises trained professionals, experts and managerial staff in both the private and public sectors.

"It is significant for both the insurance sector and for the whole finance sector that advocacy should be concentrated in one place", says Liisa Halme, President of the VvL.

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.