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JUHANI ARTTO
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juttupohja_2
New collective agreements slightly reduce pay gaps
in the municipal sector


Helsinki (08.02.2010 - Juhani Artto) The negotiators in the municipal sector have been able to reach common ground concerning new collective agreements. The negotiation outcome still has to be approved by the decision making bodies. The new agreements are for two years.

The agreements do not include any pay rises common to all. Instead, certain groups, such as catering, cleaning, social and kindergarten employees, will receive (from 1 February) on average, an 0.8 per cent pay rise. On September 1 another rise (0.7 per cent) will be awarded locally for purposes that improve results at work units.

These rises have the effect of slightly equalising pay gaps as, in the previous bargaining round, nurses and some other health care employees received higher pay rises than the others.

The minimum pay for trainees rises from 1 February by about 9 per cent to EUR1,450 per month. Also the status of shop stewards and safety representatives has improved.

Tuire Santamäki-Vuori, the President of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors, is fairly satisfied with the agreements. The weaknesses she mentions in her blog concern the rights of fixed-term employees. The discriminatory regulations with regard to their annual leave remains in force and no progress on the paid paternity leave demand was reached. Nor were the unions able to get the preconditions for the use of fixed-term employees included in the agreements, Santamäki-Vuori notes with regret.

At the end of her blog she writes that the bargaining atmosphere was business-like and calm.