Modest pay rises and "wait and see" tactics
Helsinki (29.01.2010 - Juhani Artto) On January 31 the
collective agreement in the municipal sector and several other large and small collective
agreements expire. And many more will expire in the next few months.
On Thursday, 30 000 salaried employees in the technology industry received a new
collective agreement. It raises their salaries by 0.5 per cent. The agreement includes a
new approach on how to solve the dispute concerning what groups of salaried employees the
agreement covers. A person from outside (of the parties) will clear up factors that
demarcate salaried employees from senior salaried employees. The dispute concerns
thousands of salaried employees who, according to the Union of Salaried Employees TU, lose
thousands of euros as their employers applied the agreement covering the senior salaried
employees to them.
In December 2009, the Union of Salaried Employees TU organised in the technology a one
week strike to add pressure on the employer side. The industrial action covered several
major companies, such as Nokia, ABB and STX Finland.
In other agreements -made so far in this bargaining round- pay rises have been between 0.5
and about 1.0 per cent. The employer bastion EK (Confederation of Finnish Industries)
declared last year that no agreement should exceed the 0.5 per cent limit but the line has
not held. However, in
terms of money, the divergences have not been significant. But, for trade union morale,
even a tiny move above the 0.5 per cent "pay anchor" has had a good effect.
Around many bargaining tables both/all parties have until now followed a "wait and
see" tactic. It has largely been due to the tight control EK exercises over its
member association in various industries.