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Helsinki (21.10.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The keys to opening up collective bargaining for the technology industry are now in the employers hands, says the Industrial Union. The existing national generally binding collective agreement runs out at the end of November.

The process of negotiations has changed since the former agreement partner Technology Industries of Finland decided in March 2021 to pull out of all collective bargaining. They established a new association, the Technology Industry Employers of Finland, to negotiate on behalf of those companies that are willingly to join it.

Negotiations should be going on now as time is running out. Yet in spite of that the new employers' association moves very slowly. It does not even tell which companies have joined it and will accept new members next time at the end of October.

On October 8, the new employers' association announced that 539 companies had joined the new negotiation body. These companies have 111,300 employees. But: employers do not reveal which companies are members.

"We can not buy a pig in a poke" says Riku Aalto, President of the Industrial Union. It is pretty difficult to negotiate a collective agreement if you are not even told who are the ones on the other side of the table.

Another key issue for the negotiations is knowing whether the collective agreement has possibilities to become generally binding.

In Finland, a collective agreement is usually confirmed as generally binding when it covers more than half of the employees in any given branch. Then all employers in the same branch are obliged to follow the minimum salaries and other terms of work set in the collective agreement.

There are some 320,000 employees in the technology industry in Finland. The existing number of companies and employees in the new employers' association do not yet pass the needed amount of employees. However, in the middle of October the association said that with the new membership applications this level will be reached.

If one agreement becomes generally binding, there is no point in starting negotiations with single companies. Everything now depends on employers, and they do not have any hurry.

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