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Trade Union News from Finland
Helsinki (01.09.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish forestry giant UPM says it is ready to organise terms of work in Finland without any collective agreement altogether after the existing agreements expire. The Paper Workers' Union is willing to negotiate at company level, but UPM refuses to consider the possibility.
In October last year, the forest industry employers' association decided that it would pull out of national level collective agreements. All collective agreements should be made at company level. The existing national agreements expire at the end of 2021.
On 10 August, the Paper Workers' Union announced that collective bargaining is going on in companies that cover 70 per cent of the employees of the existing paper workers' collective agreement.
Helsinki (31.08.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) The share of people under the poverty line drops when trade union density grows. The work and efforts of the trade union movement narrows income differences. And the coverage and extensiveness of the collective agreements has an even stronger impact in levelling income differences than the organising level of employees.
These are some of the findings of Ari-Matti Näätänen, a doctoral student, summarised in a new report on trade union movement impact on income differences and competitiveness in OECD countries.
The report was commissioned by STTK, the Finnish Confederation of Professionals.
Helsinki (24.08.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) A turbulent labour market autumn lies ahead for Finland due to the new confused situation in the technology and forest industries. In October 2020, the forest industry employers declared they would no longer take part in collective bargaining.
In March 2021, the Technology Industries of Finland announced that it was also directly pulling out of national collective bargaining. Instead, it did establish a new association, which should henceforth handle all matters connected to collective bargaining. It is up to individual companies whether they want to join it or not.
This offensive against comprehensive collective bargaining demands a determined response from the trade unions. The new collective agreements should be negotiated this year. Now unions are preparing ways to answer the attack and guarantee decent terms of work that will cover all employees, as has been the case so far.
Tekijä (14.07.2021 - Heikki Jokinen) In 1917, the Finnish Parliament made a historic decision: daily working hours were limited to eight hours a day, and a maximum of 47 hours a week. Working on Sundays now offered better pay. The law was the goal of the labour movement and passed due to a general strike in November 1917.
In 2021, the law is still basically the same. Except that now the legal maximum weekly working time is 40 hours since we introduced free Saturdays from the mid 1960's on.
So why do most of us work less than 40 hours a week? The answer is collective bargaining. The law sets the limit, but with collective agreements it is possible to make better deals for employees.
This is the essence of collective bargaining and for this reason some hard-line employers want to scrap the system. They dream of making the law a directive for terms of work, at least for those without strong negotiation power.
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